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Tuesday, October 31

A Walk With A Slightly Creepy Woman On Halloween

"A Walk With A Slightly Creepy Woman On Halloween"
Short Fiction - Horror - Halloween story
By Mike Miller


Everybody knew she was crazy as a bat. Everybody was afraid of her, too. Rumors of enchantments causing deformities, illness, even death followed her whenever she left her quaint, little ranch. The ranch itself occupied many late night conversations over a couple of beers. What kind of evil witch or gypsy or whatever the hell she was lived in a quaint, little ranch? Nobody ever saw a black cat or a crow in the house. She did feed the squirrels but that seemed more strange than creepy.

Few people talked about the darker rumors. Whispers of sexual enchantments cast on out-of-towners looking for a few days work in the corn fields only passed the townies lips during the deepest of gossip. None of the men wanted to begin to think what the old, wrinkled, vile beast did to the laborers. None of the women wanted to think of touching their men again if the old hag ever got her hands on them.

Dennis considered all of this as he walked past her house on the way home from trick or treating. He felt stupid for begging for a few pieces of candy at his age. He should have just gone straight home after finishing up the round of trick or treating with his nephew. The frowns as the people held out their candy bucket still made Dennis' cheeks flush.

He considered crossing the street but no self respecting adult crossed the street to stay away from a spooky house. He stiffened his arms and continued walking. A curtain moved. Dennis had not noticed it open but it had definitely moved and was now definitely closed. He saw no sign of movement inside the house.

The warm breeze brushed Dennis' face. He realized that he had stopped moving. He had even stopped breathing. A floating leaf smacked his face sending him dropping to one knee. Before having a chance to chastise himself, the front door suddenly opened. The door did not suddenly begin to open. Rather, the door all of the sudden was open. Before it was closed and then it was open.

Dennis forced his mind out of this thought loop. A tiny shadow stood in the doorway. The bright light behind it hid any features.

"Boy."

Dennis wet himself.

"Boy. I need you to walk me to a friend's house through the woods and across the old bridge. I'll give you twenty dollars."

Dennis managed a few shaky words. "What do you need my help for?" He licked his dry lips.

"It is Halloween. I know the rumors about me. I don't need some punk kids trying to do something...mean...to the neighborhood witch," she finished the last with a sneer.

The woman limped toward Dennis. In the soft moonlight and with so much of her weight supported by the staff, all fear of the old lady vanished. He even felt sorry for the poor, old lady trapped by the gossip of the small town. There were a few rumors floating around about himself that he did not particularly like either.

"My pleasure. But, you can keep your money. I was heading that way anyway."

Dennis let her wrap her arm around his. She used her cane to point out various changes over the years in the town. Their feet smashed the orange and red leaves. By the time they reached the bridge, she barely needed the cane, or even Dennis' arm, for support at all.

"Let's stop here for a few minutes."

Dennis walked to the side of the bridge and watched the water break on one of the support beams. He turned back when the woman began mumbling under her breath.

"Shhh. Just wait right there," the woman said while sliding her dress from her shoulders.

"Whoa. I think there's some kind of...." Dennis rushed to grab the top of her dress to keep it from falling any further.

"Get your hands off of me you impudent fool."

The chanting resumed in earnest.

"Shit." Dennis picked her up and carried her to the railing. He threw her over the side. She seemed to hang in the air for a moment. She reached into a pocket and threw the contents at Dennis.

"Curse you, you stupid boy. You shall forever be bound to this bridge and these woods until somebody returns all five of the pennies to you. You shall roam the woods a vile and despised monster without the ability to satisfy your cravings until the pennies return."

She hit the water. Fire erupted and consumed her body before the five pennies hit Dennis in the chest and suddenly disappeared.

Dennis's body twisted, stretched and hardened in unbearable pain. It would be days before he would see his own reflection and months before he could see it without wanting to vomit. During the time that passed, he would walk as far away from the bridge as he could. Anything more than one hundred feet seemed to rip his soul from his body. He tried suicide several times but apparently that was no longer an option.

So, Dennis learned to live underneath the bridge and waited for the five pennies to return.

Friday, October 27

Trick or Treat

"Trick or Treat"
Short Fiction - Halloween Story
by Rod Drake

The doorbell rang. Scuffling noises could be heard on the front porch. Then the cry “Trick or Treat!” came through the door.

Another Halloween. Sam Dinkins padded wearily to the door again, scratching his sizeable belly and smoothing his few strands of thinning hair. He opened his front door, prepared to encounter another rat-tag group of pint-size witches, ghosts and skeletons with their beggar bags held wide open.

But Sam was surprised this time. These costumes were elaborate and authentic, as was the make-up or masks. A vampire, two zombies and a furry thing that stood down on the steps, partially hidden in the darkness, shy apparently. And these weren’t children, but high school students at least, maybe adults. And not a one of them had a beggar bag.

Sam stood there dumbfounded with fun-size candy bars softening in his hands. “Um, great costumes, but aren’t you guys a little old for Halloween?”

The vampire-costumed one replied, “Aren’t you a little naïve for one so old?”

Sam stepped out on his porch. “What does that mean? Rudeness isn’t going to get you candy, you know.”

The vampire laughed dryly. “Candy? You are naïve; no, foolish I think is the better word. We don’t want candy.”

Sam felt his belly tightened. Robbers dressed up in Halloween costumes, getting people to open their doors to them at nighttime. What a great scam. “I don’t have any money or jewelry for you to steal; my wife took all of that from me years ago, so buzz off before I call the cops.”

The vampire laughed an unnerving laugh. “I was wrong. Not foolish. Idiot. Soon to be a dead idiot. Hull, tear him apart!”

From the front porch’s steps, the werewolf lunged forward, knocking Sam into his living room, ripping into his soft flesh.

The vampire gestured to his two companions. “Feast time, boys. Brains for you, and hopefully Hull will leave the neck and some blood for me. I just love Halloween!”

Despite tabloid headlines, Rod Drake is not the missing fifth Monkee (Micky, Davy, Peter, Mike and Rod?). Check out Rod’s stories posted in Flashing in the Gutters, Flashes of Speculation, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward, MicroHorror and AcmeShorts.

Thursday, October 26

FM Bulletin: Very Short Stories

Check out these VERY short stories in 6 words or less, written by sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers. Very cool.
Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.
- William Shatner

Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?
- Eileen Gunn

Vacuum collision. Orbits diverge. Farewell, love.
- David Brin

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.
- Joss Whedon

Automobile warranty expires. So does engine.
- Stan Lee

Machine. Unexpectedly, I'd invented a time
- Alan Moore

Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
- Margaret Atwood

His penis snapped off; he's pregnant!
- Rudy Rucker

From torched skyscrapers, men grew wings.
- Gregory Maguire

FM Bulletin: New Look

Yes, FM has a new look. Things were getting a little tame around here so I found a three column template that works nicely.
-Kelly

Monday, October 23

Special Delivery

"Special Delivery"
Short Fiction - Halloween Story
by Rod Drake

"Are you going to open it?" He stood on the front porch, wet from the rain when he ran over from the house next door. He shivered slightly in the cool autumn night.

The girl turned the damp envelope over and over again. "I'm afraid to."

The boy took the envelope and held it up to the bare yellow bulb. He squinted at it. "Doesn't seem to be much, if anything, in it." He bounced it on his flat palm. "Pretty light too."

She reclaimed the envelope. It was thick, like a manila folder. Old and weathered, from some bygone age. Funny, foreign stamps decorated it. The address was written in an ornate, flowing style of penmanship. "Look," she pointed to the writing.

It didn't list a name. Or an address. It just read "To the One Who Must Know Despite the Risk."

"Sounds like a practical joke," the boy offered.

"How did the mailman know to deliver it to me?" She asked, not really expecting an answer.

The boy shrugged. "I guess it's just fate," he smiled. "What's the return address?"

The girl wrinkled her brow, trying to read it. "I don't know; I think it's in a foreign language. Maybe Arabic; it's really loopy and artistic."

The boy was feeling the cold now. "Just open it," he urged. "What do you have to lose?"

The girl wasn't sure, but she had an odd feeling it might be a lot. But it was just an old letter from some faraway place; what harm could come from that?

"Alright." She took a deep breath and slid her finger under the envelope's edge, breaking the seal, opening it.

As soon as she did, all manner of phantoms, evil spirits like Disease, Hunger, Conflict, Rage, Misery, Intolerance and Hatred, flew out of the envelope, wailing and escaping into the suddenly much colder, wetter night.

The girl dropped the envelope which floated gracefully to the porch's floor. Upside down, the return address was readable; it said "Curiosity Killed the Cat and Now It's Doomed the World As Well."

"What have I done?" the girl cried, burying her face in the boy's shoulder.

"I don’t know, Hope" the boy, whose name was Tom Faith, replied, "but I have a bad feeling."

Rod Drake is not a Desolation Angel, a Dharma Bum, a Subterranean nor is he On the Road. Check out Rod's other stories in Flashing in the Gutters, Flashes of Speculation, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward, MicroHorror and AcmeShorts.

Monday, October 16

A Duel

A Duel
Short Fiction Halloween Story
by C.S. Nusbaum

An owl hooted in the distance. Thick, silver-blue clouds drifted along the black sky, as midnight lay heavily over the forests of Darken Night. Crickets chirped and the thick of pine trees blanketed itself over the stretch of land. The moon, a golden orb, shed its shimmering light across the land, harmonious to the soft, fluttery wind.

The ranger, his black and blue hair falling across the pale white of his face, lay on the earthy ground, his back to the forest, lying against a great oak. He was wearing a black coat with a hood that threw most of his face into elongated shadows. Still, his eyes sparkled maliciously through the night.

A soft crunch here and there put the ranger on his guard. It was perhaps a human, although it was known that they were slow. No, they were far to clumsy to have traveled such a distance, the ranger decided. Still, the soft noises did not subside, not even after the ranger let out a warning howl. The clan would not be happy.

Just as this thought flickered through his mind, the noise subsided. He closed his eyes once again, feeling the moon's rays warming his eyelids. Striking the silence was the belt of a bowstring, some distance from the oak. Immediately, the ranger jumped up, faster than the speed of light. He saw the arrow in flight and his mind forced the arrow to snap barely seconds before it was going to strike him in the chest.

The ranger stiffened. It was no ordinary foe he was facing. He pulled out his own bow and arrows, but barely had he knocked the arrow to the string did another arrow whip out. This one found its mark. The sharp stone edge broke the bow no harder than slicing butter. The ranger involuntarily jumped two paces backwards, his back touching the bark of the oak.

A single, shrill cry erupted from a passing hawk. The intruder's eyes were strange cat-like slits of pure silver. As one lock of magenta-black hair fell across his face, the ranger realized that the intruder was not a he at all.

As the ranger was caught off guard, the intruder thrust an underhand cut at the ranger's unprotected left side, causing the ranger to be thrown off balance. The sword cut his robes, but it missed becoming a serious injury. Still, blood was seeping through his robe, and for that the ranger was angry.

Holding his side carefully, so as to contain his blood, he used his other hand to mark a number of side thrusts that pushed the enemy back against the tree, where the ranger wanted him. Releasing his side, his hands red with his blood, the ranger used is free hand to slide his poisoned dagger from his hood.

The move was deadly, but too slow. The intruder suspected what he was doing, and quickly brought his short sword to stop the poison dagger, slicing it cleanly in half. The venomous green juice sizzled to the ground, hissing as it seeped into the dirt. At the same time, however, the long sword made a deep, wounding gash in the intruders left leg. The sword slid and jarred, embedding itself in her bone.

Oddly, not a sound passed from the intruder's lips; even though the ranger was still gasping from the minor wound in his side. Blood was trickling down the intruder's leg. She gave the ranger a cold, menacing stare, and leapt from the oak, directly at him, as if her leg wound was nothing. The ranger quickly stumbled back, shocked at the sudden movement.

Quickly, he brought the long sword, bloody and dented, to block the attempt. It was clumsy, and most of the strength in the intruder's thrust went into his right shoulder. He heard his bone snapping, and felt a great pain in his collar bone. Dropping his weapon, he sank to his knees, the world becoming dark and obsolete. The evil maiden seemed to tower above him.

Some of his blood has rubbed into her shoulder. As he watched, black spots dancing before his eyes, she licked his blood from her ashen-white skin. In one last stand, the ranger through what was left of the poisoned dagger at the figure. A single, toxic drop of the poison flicked just where blood was still pouring from the gash in her leg. Her leg trembled convulsively, but again, no sound was heard.

The ranger, from shear exhaustion, crumbled into himself. He lay upon the floor, panting his last breathes of life. The intruder likewise came to the ground. She put her back to the oak, in the same position that the ranger was in. Her pearl-white fangs glittered in the moonlight, and she closed her eyes.

And an owl hooted somewhere in the distance.


C.S. Nusbaum writes fantasy novels, short-stories, and war poems.

Thursday, October 12

FM Bulletin: Halloween stories?

Anybody have any Halloween stories?? Let's get into the spirit. Flash or short, send 'em if you got 'em!


Carve your own pumpkin at pYzam.com!


-Kelly

Tuesday, October 10

Giants At Play

"Giants at Play"
Short Fiction - Literary
by Rod Drake

Hemingway was late. That meant he was either drunk, in love or, F. Scott Fitzgerald joked, actually writing for a change. Gertrude Stein laughed shrilly at that pointed comment, and Ezra Pound snorted his characteristic chuckle. Zelda Fitzgerald was too preoccupied with a handsome young American at a nearby table to react. He seemed to be flirting with her, and Zelda appreciated that.

Paris, 1923. Autumn. Late afternoon at the Le Revolution, a little hole-in-the-wall café where American expatriate writers, artists and hangers-on gathered for conversation, cognac and criticism.

Outside a light rain began. John Dos Passos hurried inside, his right hand wrapped awkwardly in a handkerchief. There was blood on the white linen handkerchief. The result of a brief but probably dangerous scuffle, most likely with a jealous French husband. It would not be the first time. Nor the last.

He dropped, breathless, into the chair next to Gertrude Stein. She offered him one of her thin Turkish cigarettes. Dos Passos took it in his left hand which was still shaking. Alice B. Toklas rubbed his shoulders and comforted him

Pound glared at the interruption. Dos Passos whispered “sorry,” and tried quickly to blend in. After a grand and overly dramatic silence over which Pound presided like a judge, he began reading one of his latest poems to the group. All listened intently. E. E. Cummings closed his eyes, slowly rubbing his temples with his fingers as Pound read. Thornton Wilder scribbled away on a napkin as Pound recited sonorously.

Pound stopped mid-stanza, accusing Wilder, perhaps in jest, of stealing verses. Dos Passos, feeling better now and playful on this wet afternoon, blew perfect smoke rings at Pound. Pound waved them away, frowning irritably at Dos Passos and demanding to see the napkin.

Fitzgerald ordered another drink for himself and a round for the table where Zelda’s admirer sat. The tall, lanky stranger came over and thanked Fitzgerald, introducing himself as Tom Mix. The famous cowboy movie star was on a promotional film tour of Europe. Zelda was as charming as she could be, which was considerable. Lon Chaney, vacationing in Paris after completing The Hunchback of Notre Dame, pulled up a chair and conversed quietly with Wilder.

Anais Nin sat by herself near the fireplace, writing furiously and glancing at the front door frequently. Where was Henry?

Then the front door burst open dramatically, like a stage curtain finally going up. Everyone stopped whatever they were doing and stared at the door. Ernest Hemingway stumbled in, glowering, looking like he had been in a fight. Henry Miller followed him, grinning like the winner.

For a moment all was silent. Then Gertrude's shrill laugh shrieked through the café and the place erupted in laughter and shouts. Hemingway scowled, Miller shook hands all around and even kissed Zelda before sitting down in triumph with Anais. Pound whispered in his ear, “Hemingway deserves a beating daily.”

Fitzgerald sent a bottle of expensive champagne over to Miller's table and Archibald MacLeish, who had just arrived from America, presented Miller with a fat Cuban cigar.

Hemingway got roaring drunk, of course, and ended up punching Fitzgerald in the nose. Alice tended to Fitzgerald’s bloody nose and bandaged up Hemingway’s already raw hand. Hemingway shook Miller’s hand, all disputes now forgiven, apologized drunkenly to Fitzgerald then danced clumsily with Anais before he finally passed out behind the bar.

Shyly, Tom asked Zelda to dance, and the two of them spent a romantic if chaste evening together. Chaney demonstrated how he contorted himself to become the crippled character in The Miracle Man for Wilder and Cummings to their great amazement.

Rain pounded at the windows, and the fall night turned chilly. But no one inside the warm little café cared.

Rod Drake came, he saw, he wrote. Read Rod’s other stories published in Flashing in the Gutters, Flashes of Speculation, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward and AcmeShorts.

Monday, October 2

Cartoons

"Cartoons"
Short Fiction - Literary
by Rod Drake

Jen was on her third apple martini when Luke finally showed up at the outdoor restaurant. Pink slips had gone out at noon, and the whole production team was jobless. That included Jen, Luke, Tori, Amber and Austin, the voices of the cancelled cartoon show Atomic Tots. With Luke’s arrival, they were all present.

“Luke,” Jen called out too loudly, “we’ve all been fired. Sacked. Kicked to the curb.”

“Shh, Jen, keep it down. We all know our situation.” Tori was the unofficial leader of the group, despite being younger than most of them. “So Luke,” she smiled at him as he sat down, “where have you been? We thought you’d ditched us.”

Luke smiled his bashful, ‘aw-shucks,’ smile. “On the phone.”

“Did you get a job already, you bastard,” Austin asked, mock-angry. He called everyone ‘bastard’ in a playful way.

“Well . . . “ Luke signaled the waiter.

“You did! You son-of-a-bitch!” Amber, on the other hand, swore and meant it most of the time. “Who called you? What show is it? It better not be AquaForce Sea Rangers. I’ve tried to get a job there for months now.”

“You have? You were going to leave Atomic Tots? Nice loyalty to the show,” Tori sniped, “and to us.”

“Bite me, mother hen. You would have dumped us if anyone would have offered you something better, and you know it.”

“Hey, hey, let’s not turn on each other,” Austin broke in. “We’re all upset right now.”

“I loved Atomic Tots. I really did.” Jen went into her character’s funny, baby-like voice. “Time to Explode into Action!”

“Don’t. I hate that voice.” Amber took a big drink. “So, Austin, any plans? Something for a voice team, a boy-girl duo, maybe?”

Austin shook his head. “Nope. Maybe a nibble on an animated film.”

“A film!” Tori, Amber and Jen squealed in surprise.

“There has to be roles for us in a film,” Tori proclaimed.

“Voicing a role in a film. A dream job,” Jen mused.

“How long have you known about this job? Take care of yourself and screw us, right?” Amber was in his face.

“Nothing definite. Just an audition. Um, and a callback.”

“Were you going to just up and leave us if you got it? You know, we were a team. I thought we were all friends,” Tori commented, worrying her napkin.

“No, no, I wouldn’t leave like that. I mean, I’d give notice,” Austin’s voice dropped, “if I could.”

“Lousy rat,” Jen yelled.

“Jerk,” Tori added.

“Selfish shithead,” Amber hissed. “and I actually thought we cared about each other. I hate you so much, Austin.”

“Someone needs a nap,” Luke kidded in a sing-song voice.

“Shuttup, golden boy. You’ll be fine, I’m sure. You got to do all the lead voices on Atomic Tots.” Amber waved to the waiter for another drink.

“Yeah, that always irritated me. Why did Luke get all the good characters? I’m talented. Listen-“ Jen started, but Tori interrupted her.

“Since we’re being honest,” Tori stated firmly, “I always thought Amber’s Plutonium Peter was a copy of Austin’s Hydrogen Harry. They sounded too much alike to me.”

“Talk to the fist, ‘cause the face is pissed,” Amber exploded. “Your Helium Haley sucked. It was embarrassing to the rest of our voices. Definitely not in our league. Well, my league. Maybe Luke’s too.”

“What about me?” Jen asked, hurt.

“You only got a role because the director liked your big pair of-“ then Amber was interrupted.

“Hey! Wait a minute,” Tori broke in,” we never heard about Luke’s phone call.”

Everyone at the table turned to look at Luke, all grudges temporarily on hold as they readied their venom for his betrayal.

“Well,” Luke began, drawing out the moment for dramatic intent, “my agent called to tell me that Atomic Tots has been picked up by the CW. Everyone on the show still has a job!”

Everyone screamed in delight and hugged each other. Austin punched Luke playfully for the rotten trick he had pulled. Amber and Jen wiped their eyes, sharing the same napkin.

Jen, swaying a little, announced, “You guys are my best friends in the whole world.”

“Mine too; coming to work is so much fun with you guys,” Tori chimed in.

“I love all of you so much.” Amber hugged Austin and Luke like her life depended on it.

“Let’s celebrate our reclaimed jobs and our friendship, which can weather any crisis,” Luke lifted up his drink.

They toasted half-empty glasses, laughing and talking like the closest of friends.

Rod Drake, product of the Midwest, now lives and writes in the adult amusement park known as Las Vegas. Rod has been fortunate to be published five times in Fictional Musings; check out his other stories in Flashing in the Gutters, Flashes of Speculation, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward and AcmeShorts.