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

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Time in the Grave
by Naching T. Kassa

Nalin Kratides stood at the edge of the shallow grave, her eyes on the skull which peeked above the sand. Moonlight glowed over the sun-bleached bone.
A breeze tousled her dark hair and whispered across the desert. She held a silver compact in her left hand and traced the cold, raised surface with her right. Then, she turned to the man behind her.
Detective Warren leaned against his Dodge Charger, arms crossed. Green eyes peered at her through square-framed glasses.
“Are you ready, John,” Nalin said.
The detective nodded and said, “Do you think he’ll tell you?”
“Only if I ask.” She turned back to the grave, “If anything happens…will you…”
“I’ll catch you if you fall,” came the reply.
She shut her eyes and the desert came alive. In the distance, a coyote cried and the fragrant scent of Brittlebush filled the air. Night closed around her. She took a deep breath before allowing it inside.
The vision swirled up from darkness and spilled out before her eyes. It began with the flame of a single candle and the reflection of mirror glass.
Nalin held the candle before her. The reflection in the glass was not her own. The black and empty eye sockets of a skull stared back.
“Marjorie?” the skeletal figure said, in a high voice. Then, before she could answer. “No, you are not she. Who are you?”
“Nalin.”
“Why are you here?”
“To discover your identity and, perhaps, the name of the one who murdered you.”
She held up the compact. It gleamed in the soft light.
“Where did you get that?” it whispered.
“The detective found it buried beside your bones.”
The skeleton lowered its head.
“I thought he took it when he killed me. It belonged to Marjorie. I’ve had it…ever since she was…was…”
“Murdered?”
It nodded.
“Who are you?” Nalin asked.
“Bruce Harper.”
Nalin’s eyes widened.
“You’ve heard of me. I can see it in your eyes. Women have such expressive eyes. So many truths lie within those depths. That compact is the only thing I have left of her. The only reminder of our love.”
“You loved her?”
 “I adored her. And, she loved me. How long has it been…since she died?”
“Thirty years. How long have you been here?”
Harper chuckled, a mawkish laugh. The sound chilled Nalin’s blood.
“Twenty. It’s a long time to lie in a grave,” he said. “Who is that standing behind you?”
Nalin glanced over her shoulder. A long tunnel stretched behind her and, at the end, John still leaned against the car.
“He’s a detective.”
“He looks familiar.”
“He found your body.”
“Oh…I thought…his eyes. They look like—“
“Why didn’t you move on to the next world?”
The skeleton clenched its bony hands. “Vengeance.”
“Against who?”
“The one who snuffed my life as though it were a candle. The one who took Marjorie away and caused her death.”
Nalin’s heart pounded in her chest. “Who?”
“I came to her that night. She wanted to leave him, to be with me. I saw it in her eyes the moment she opened the door. She loved me. Had always loved me.”
“Did she?”
“Of course she did. But, he must’ve found out about us because he changed her. When I stepped over the threshold, she tried to push me out. She told me to go. She didn’t know who I was. She wasn’t…she wasn’t my Marjorie anymore.”
“Harper,” Nalin said, her tone gentle. “Did you kill Marjorie?”
“No! No…he made me do it. He put the hate in her eyes. He made me use the knife on her. And, in the throes of death, she called his name. His name! Not mine!”
“Who?”
“The one who posed on television pretending to mourn her. The one who pleaded for information leading to the capture of her murderer. The one who put me in this grave. Captain James Warren.”
Nalin covered her mouth with one hand.
“I swore I would see him punished. See him arrested and humiliated. If he still lives, it will be so. If he is dead, I will defile his memory. Can you imagine what the world will think? He was a great policeman. Now, he’ll be nothing but a common murderer.”
Bruce reached out toward the glass. It stretched around his fingers before bursting like a bubble. He grasped hold of Nalin’s wrist.
“The day has come at last. You are my salvation. Let me in.”
“No!” Nalin cried. She struggled as the skeleton pushed its way through the mirror.
“Through you, I will reveal the truth to all. The truth of Marjorie’s death. The truth about mine.”
“John!” Nalin screamed.
The detective rushed forward. He entered the tunnel.
As John drew nearer, the skeleton’s grip loosened. He stared into the detective’s face.
“Her eyes!” Harper cried. “He has her eyes!”
Nalin wrenched herself from Harper’s grip. She fell backward.
Arms caught her and pulled her away from the shallow grave. She turned and clutched at John’s shirt.
“You alright?”
She nodded. He pulled her to her feet. Trembling, she wrapped her arms around his neck. He enfolded her in his embrace.
“It was Bruce Harper,” she said.
“The serial killer?”
“He killed your mother.”
“Then, my father—”
She glanced at the grave. In the moonlight, the skull still grinned.
“James Warren is innocent,” she said.
“Did Harper tell you who buried him here?”
Nalin paused. She stared into those green eyes, then, lowered her own. The compact still filled her hand. She slipped it into her pocket.
“No. He doesn’t know who killed him.”
A scream came from the grave. A wail only she could hear.
She ignored it.
Fiction © Copyright Naching T. Kassa
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com 

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More from Naching T. Kassa:


Final Masquerade

It’s the Final Masquerade and it’s your turn to dance.

The evening is ending and the guests are ready to leave, but the final event of the evening is just beginning — the unmasking.

Welcome to Final Masquerade where no one is who they seem.

Stories written by Daniel I. Russell * Ken MacGregor * J.C. Delisle * Joshua Chaplinsky * Lori Safranek * D.S. Ullery * Samantha Lienhard * Thomas Kleaton * Josh Strnad * Naching T. Kassa * Roy C. Booth & Axel Kohagen * Sheldon Woodbury * Craig Steven * Gregory L. Norris * Jay Eales * Dale W. Glaser * R.K. Kombrinck * Jonathan Cromack * Brian C. Baer * Adrian Chamberlin

Available on Amazon!

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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!


How It Began

by Christina Sng

The night is long and dark in the heart of summer. 
These are the nights Tessa stays up late to make new dolls, sewing each one from head to foot and embroidering their faces with buttons and cotton thread. 
Sometimes she adds a hair or a nail clipping inside. These dolls whisper words of affirmation and encouragement to their owner.
Only on one occasion has a doll stabbed someone to death. Tessa hears they died, eyes wide and in terror. She smiles.
This evening, she lays to rest her ex-husband and the woman he left her for. It feel strange walking back into her former home and greeting their former friends but Tessa holds her head high and carries herself with grace.
After everyone has left, she searches the house and the coffins for the doll but finds no trace of it. Still, she does not worry. A doll cannot enchant someone without the person’s hair or nail cuttings buried in its stuffing.
Across the street, a child with quick fingers at a funeral home talks to a doll he stole. It tells him many dark and terrible things, and how he can change the world.
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 Kim Richards @Kim_Richards @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

Guardian
by Kim Richards

I’ve always thought gargoyles were cool. There are many collectables of them around my house and in my garden. They’re guardians, right? Ancient versions of superheroes, I’d say. Who doesn’t love a protector? That’s why we revere knights in armor, firemen chopping through flame engulfed doors, soldiers saving a child, and police delivering babies in the back of a car. These guys save our asses. Buy them all a beer!
Heck, my favorite show about gargoyles is the one titled ‘Gargoyles’ with many of the voice-overs done by actors I remember from Star Trek—not the silly Disney thing. These creatures watched over people for centuries. I loved each one of them. Why wouldn’t I want to surround myself with them? They touch the dark, mysterious, yet not evil part of what I envisioned.
I recently noticed new gargoyle statues in my garden I hadn’t purchased. Where did these guys come from? The matte gray of their skin made my fakes look childish and cheap. When I drew near, they smelled of moss, rich dirt, and blood. The blood was unmistakable. I dared touch the wing tips of the smallest one. It was cool in a pleasant way—like how dipping your toes in a pool during the summer heat feels.
I quickly threw those fakes away and made room for the real ones. I talked with them…often. I obsessed with what I could do for them, how I could convince them to stay.  I came home from the pet store with offerings. Mice at first but those disappeared quickly. I realized there were numerous of those in the city streets so I wasn’t offering anything worthy of my protectors. From there I graduated to…well, you can envision what.
Eventually I was banned from several pet stores over concerns about the frequency of my purchases. The bastards don’t care that crime is non-existent in my neighborhood these days. I know why.
The gargoyles in my garden multiplied. They expanded to the rooftops of my house and, eventually, those of my neighbors on both sides. I saw them often on the back fences. I never dared to disturb the bones of their feasts littering my yard, thought there were more of them than grass these days.
Why won’t they talk with me?
I lingered in the garden every day, hanging out with a glass of bourbon on the rocks at twilight. Sometimes I swore I saw movement in my peripheral vision.  The drink emboldened me to dare touch the spikes along their spines or scratch their pointed ears. Once I touched an extended fang and came away with a blooded fingertips. I never did that again.
Tonight, as I write this in my journal, I simply want to chronicle the truth of things. They are gathered around me, waiting for me to finish. I imagine they savor my blood as much as I do the bourbon. Once I am done, I will be my final sacrifice to them. You know what? I actually don’t mind.
Fiction © Copyright Kim Richards
Image courtesy of Pixabay.

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Sheri White @sheriw1965 @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Widow’s Walk
by Sheri White

She didn’t mean to kill him. She just needed a break from the insanity.
It started with the house. The fucking house she fell in love with, that she practically begged Jack to buy. They weren’t even looking for a new house, but while driving around on vacation in Massachusetts, they happened upon a little coastal town called Marblehead.
And then she saw it – an old house, but well-kept, with obviously new paint. And it was for sale! An open house was happening at that moment. Ally yelled at Jack to stop the car and she ran inside before Jack even knew what was going on.
A few days later papers were signed and the house was theirs; Ally beyond excited, Jack in a daze.
But after they packed up their house and moved, Jack became just as excited. He claimed the attic room as his office because of the walk-out balcony with a view of the ocean.
“Ally, come here!” Jack yelled.
“I’m unpacking in the kitchen – can’t it wait?”
“No, I have to show you this!”
Ally mumbled under her breath and went up to the attic room. Jack had papers spread out on his desk with books to hold them down.
“I found these in the closet. They were rolled up, leaning in a corner. They seem like antiques, so I don’t think the former owners left them. Probably someone who lived here a long time ago.”
“What are they?”
“Old nautical charts and maps. I looked them up on Google. And I also found out something really cool – you know the walk-out balcony over there? It’s a widow’s walk. A lot of the houses around here have them. Women would stand on them, looking out to sea, waiting for their fishermen husbands to come home. Many times, they wouldn’t.”
“That’s sad. But cool find, sweetie. I need to get back to unpacking.”
***
“Hey, want to do something fun and crazy, Ally?”
“You mean something more fun and crazy than sitting on the living room floor surrounded by boxes and eating pizza?”
“Let’s pretend that we are living in this house in the 1800s.”
“What do you mean?”
“You go out on the widow’s walk, and I’ll wave at you from the shore, like I’ve just come home.”
“Oh, that actually sounds a little romantic.” Ally smiled at Jack. “Sure, why not?”
Later, they celebrated their “reunion,” and fell asleep happy and sated.
***
But while Ally thought it was fun that one night, Jack became obsessed. After work he would study the nautical charts, and research the lives of the fishermen who used to reside in the town. He would talk about it all non-stop during dinner, barely letting Ally talk about her work day.
“I mean, I get that kids are scared of getting vaccinations, but this one kid just slapped my arm when I approached him—”
“Hey, did you know that lobster used to be so plentiful that it was considered food for poor people?”
“What?”
“Here in New England. Lobsters weren’t considered as delicious as they are now.”
Ally glared at Jack. “Jack, I was trying to tell you about my day. What do I care about lobsters?”
“It was a fact I discovered before dinner. I thought it was interesting.”
“I thought you would care that I was slapped by a kid today.”
“Doesn’t that pretty much happen to nurses ever y day?”
“Forget it.”
“I’m going back upstairs for a while.” Jack got up from the table and kissed Ally’s cheek. “Great dinner, hon.”
Ally stared at him as he walked away.
***
He was a man possessed and trying to take her with him.
“Hey, Ally! Look at this.” He held up an antique dress. “I found it in a consignment shop. You can go on the widow’s walk again tonight and be authentic this time.”
“Are you kidding me? I’m not wearing that, and I’m not going out on the balcony again. Look, Jack—”
“Widow’s walk.”
“What?”
“It’s a widow’s walk, not a balcony. You should know that by now, Mrs. Muir.” He laughed at his joke as Ally looked at him in disbelief.
“This is insane. You are not a ghost captain and I am not Mrs. Muir. Can you please take a break from this shit and come back to this century?”
“It’s just harmless fun. You know I hate working at that accountant’s office. This lets me blow off a little steam, exercise my imagination.”
“Fine. But I am not putting that dress on. I have a book I want to read in the tub, then go to bed early since I have a long shift tomorrow. I’m exhausted as it is from today.”
Jack shrugged and went into the kitchen. “I’m making tea,” he called. “Would you like some?”
“No, thank you. I’m going to have some wine.”
A few minutes later Jack took his tea up to his office. Ally got wine out of the fridge, then put it back.
“God damn it. I am so tired of this.” She knew he would wake her up when he got to bed, hoping to continue his fantasy of coming home to a forlorn and lonely wife. She just wanted him to sleep.
She went into their master bathroom and took a small vial of morphine out of the medicine cabinet that she had administered to Jack after his gall bladder was removed.
Ally waited until she heard him go into the bathroom next to his office, then quietly ran up the stairs. She opened the vial and used the dropper to put some in his tea, relying on her memory to use the proper dose. She heard the toilet flush and ran back downstairs again. She got the bottle of wine from the fridge again, grabbed a glass, and headed for the tub in their master bath.
***
Ally woke up and peered at the digital clock on her nightstand. Jack hadn’t come to bed yet, and it was almost 2:30am. She thought the morphine would make him drowsy and he would come to bed earlier tonight.
“I am so done with this. With him. With this fucking house.” Ally mumbled angrily to herself as she walked up to the attic.
Jack’s head was on the desk, his arms stretched across it. Saliva dribbled from his open mouth.
Gross. “Jack, wake up and come to bed.” She shook his shoulder. His body lolled back and forth. Oh, shit. “Jack! Jack, wake up!” She pulled him up off his desk using his shirt. His body fell against the back of the chair, then slipped to the floor.
“I’m sorry, Jack! I didn’t mean for this to happen.” Ally sobbed and kneeled beside him, smacking him on his face, hoping he would wake up. But she knew he wouldn’t.
Ally knew what she needed to do. She stood up and grabbed Jack’s cell phone off the desk. She called the local police, letting them know she accidentally killed her husband. She was about to go downstairs to wait for them, but spied the antique dress draped on the other office chair.
She put it on, and walked out onto the widow’s walk one last time.
Fiction © Copyright Sheri White
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from Author Sheri White:

Sacrificial Lambs and Others

Sacrificial Lambs and Others is Sheri White’s first collection. From quiet horror to bloody violence, these flash fiction pieces and short stories are chilling and emotionally visceral. You will find people teetering on the brink of sanity, dark farms, creepy carnivals, weird kids, and Armageddon. These stories will stay with you long after you’ve closed the book.

Available on Amazon!

 

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Lori R. Lopez @LoriRLopez @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction #poem #poetry

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


The Wallpaper
by Lori R. Lopez

It all started with an awful flit —
The pattern shifting just a whit.
She thought it changed a little bit
And then went back to normal . . .
Unsettling nerves the slightest tad,
She almost glimpsed her old granddad,
Then feared she must be going mad!
The design looked stiff and formal.
This motif could not be any duller;
She wanted something with more color:
A country scene, a fancied muller
That would stir the imagination . . .
But she didn’t wish to go insane
Over shadows, a morbid fleeting stain,
A flash that she could not explain
From a candle’s illumination.
There it was again, the gilded specter!
Did it strive to haunt — a ghastly hector
With the visage of a soul collector?
The taunter grinned its skullish most . . .
A young Lady sat and brushed fine hair,
Pretending the ghoulie wasn’t there,
Yet nothing may pry her from that chair,
So frightened it might be a ghost!
The wallpaper held a malevolent sheen.
Was it moonlight or taper that lent such mien?
The Lady felt as if caught between
Her mortal coil and the other side . . .
This time the phantom chose to linger,
Crooking a spindly gruesome finger,
And invited the maiden to malinger —
Joining Gramps beyond the divide.
A revenant offered his bony hand . . .
“You can always return from the Netherland
Should the under-realm appear too bland.”
His grandchild shivered, a chill of dread.
The skeletal visitor cackled hoarsely.
His voice unpleasant, he added coarsely,
“Come with me now ere it be perforcely!”
Two digits snapped and she lay dead.
A Grandfather Clock chimed its fatal hour
The dainty lass wilted like a flower.
Luce’s wallpaper settled plain and dour . . .
No decorative strokes remained to glower.
Fiction © Copyright Lori R. Lopez
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com 

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More from Lori R. Lopez:

Cornstalker

Trouble with a capital C! The tale begins when a car stops and a body is tossed into the Corn. But this is not just any crop. It is the battleground of a legendary creature who haunts fields along desolate highways, only when stalks are tall and the blood of brothers has been spilled in the soil — rising above the Corn like a burly Scarecrow.

A novelette of betrayal and retribution, “Cornstalker” pits a female truckdriver and a man with blood on his hands against a mythical beast summoned by a band of men wearing feathers and paint.

Jane is searching for her younger brother, who disappeared along a highway bordered by many ears. The last message on a sputtering cellphone had been something about a monster. So she took over his rig, coincidentally called “The Monster”, a heavy-duty black beast with a long snout, double chrome stacks and a reinforced grill. Anxiously prowling the roads of The Cornbelt, she picks up a stranger who could be dangerous. Our heroine may need to unleash her own demons to emerge from the Corn once she goes in.

First appearing in the 2014 anthology DEAD HARVEST, “Cornstalker” is part of Lori’s SPOOKTACULAR TALES collection.

Available on Amazon!

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Melissa R. Mendelson @melissmendelson @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!

No More Sleep Tonight
by Melissa R. Mendelson

Most towns have ghost stories.  There are those purely fiction, and there are others only spoken in whispers.  The town, Hallow was no different, but it only had one ghost story.  That story was for young girls, who were about to turn ten-years-old.  On the day before their birthday, if they had some kind of fall, even a trip over their shoelaces, then they were marked by something, something worse than a ghost, and they were not supposed to go to sleep that night.  They had to stay awake until the next day because if they went to sleep, then they would disappear.  Unfortunately for me, my mother did not believe in ghost stories.
I had tripped over my laces the day before my tenth birthday.  I thought nothing of it, but I was the new kid in town.  When the other girls in my school heard me talking about tripping over my laces, they freaked out.  I thought they were pulling a prank on me until one girl showed me a picture of her best friend.  Her friend had falling off her bicycle the day before her tenth birthday, and the next morning, she was gone.  She was never found, but my mother did not believe me.
The night before my birthday was on a school night.  Bedtime was usually at ten, but tonight, my mother allowed me to stay awake until eleven.  Then, I had to change into pajamas, brush my teeth and get into bed.  I crawled into my bed, but I stayed awake.  I guess that’s when my mother realized that I really did believe the ghost story, so shortly before one in the morning, she came into my room to sit with me.  And she handed me a glass of warm milk.
I only closed my eyes for a moment.  I felt really tired like sleep had just taking hold of me, but then I jolted awake.  I couldn’t feel my bed.  I couldn’t touch the ground.  My head felt funny like something was protruding out of it, and something was, connecting me to the wooden rafters above me.  Then, I realized that I wasn’t alone.  I spun around to see other young girls behind me, but they weren’t girls.  They were dolls, and I was one of them.  Then, I was pulled forward, coming face to face with another doll.  But she wasn’t a doll.  Her face was stained with blood, and she flashed a smile made up of razor sharp teeth.  And she said, “How, sweet.  Another birthday treat.”
Fiction © Copyright Melissa R. Mendelson
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com

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More from Melissa R. Mendelson:

Lizardian 

The ghosts of the past will slither and crawl their way into the present, unleash a quiet rage upon a small town and take up residence in the darkest places that you dare not look, but one will find that deep below the surface lies a monster, who will tear its way through those standing in its path. All the bodies to fall is because she lied.

Available Here!

 

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Ladies of Horror Flash Project – #Horror #author Bailey Hunter @DarkRecesses @Sotet_Angyal #LoH #fiction

The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!


Daywatcher
by Bailey Hunter

She comes to me as the first rays of dawn cascade down her shoulders and swirl at her feet with each purposeful stride. Soon she will cloy her way deep under the lush earth to rest beneath the bones of all those who dare to threaten her on my watch.
Eons before, I rode with my Mistress down from the mountains in the sky to this land of soft yet crunchy creatures.  We wandered fertile lands, Her terrifying beauty commanding all those who laid eyes upon her. My purpose has always been to keep them at a distance worthy of my Goddess.
Back in the beginning millennia, it was simple. Her mere presence sent even the most brazen cowering in awe. But with each new civilization, they grew more desirous of Her.  They erected monuments to Her, worshiped Her, sacrificed for Her, and sent their assassins to try to claim Her power as their own. Even in those moments though, the reverence was still there.
Then something happened and our time on this mortal plane changed.  The soft and crunchy creatures stopped believing. Those that did believe hunted my Mistress down, not for power, but because they thought us monsters.
We were forced to hide, gone too long from our home upon the mountain to return, we were stuck here.  Through their fear and hate they turned us into the very things they fear.
She still wanders among them at night, learning their ever-changing ways, and I remain on watch through the days as she slumbers beneath their bones. She leaves them there as a warning, and a snack for me. With billions swarming about in this tiny realm, I don’t worry about running out of soft and crunchy snacks any time soon.
Fiction © Copyright Bailey Hunter
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
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More about Bailey Hunter:
Bailey is a publisher with Dark Recesses Press.


Dark Recesses Press is a publishing house dedicated to providing high quality dark fiction in its many forms to the reader. Our end goal is to impress and entertain, no matter what dark recesses we dare shine our light on.

DarkRecessesPress.com

 
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