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Friday, October 19

Hidden Gem

"Hidden Gem"
Halloween Story
By Patricia J. Hale

It was Halloween at dusk and Ann was living the nightmare.

The key stuck in the lock. She had the feeling she was being watched while fiddling with it and when it snapped open at long last, the key broke off in the door. “Damn it. I’d better leave the door open,” she said aloud. “If it shuts, I’ll be locked in.”

She pushed the door slowly forward and it creaked. “Is anyone there?”

She needn’t have bothered. Judging by the dusty stale air, no one had been there for at least 10 years. As she walked in, she coughed, breathing in cobwebs. She flailed her arms around to clear her way and then felt a spider crawling up her arm. “Give me a break!” She said as she flung the spider off to the floor where it crawled away before she could kill it. “Whatever.” She heaved a sigh.

Looking around the room, she could just make out the faded Victorian style furniture, a table with a broken leg, boxes. The heavy blood red velvet shades were all drawn. Not what she expected.

Just then a large black bird flew into the living room and Ann jumped back, accidentally closing the door with a thump. “Damn!” Hope that door is unlocked from the inside, she thought. “Was that a—a BAT? I must be losing it.

Then she heard voices beyond a short dingy hallway. “Hello? Hello?”

She walked down the hallway, smelling foul mysterious odors. “This is absurd,” she said under her breath. “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“Anyone there?” She called out, reaching the kitchen. It felt cold, clammy. She looked up at the skylight and saw the glass was broken leaving a gapping hole. She felt something under her feet, looked down and saw that bird droppings covered the kitchen floor, making almost a black and white pattern with the occasional feather. “Disgusting,” she said, continuing to look around.

The walls had faded and flowered wallpaper punctuated with horrible clown pictures in cheap cardboard frames. A small table had a large Tupperware bowl full to the brim with candy corn. Apparently, even the birds and bats had rejected it.

The voices she heard must have come from outside, because there was nothing human in this kitchen. As far as she could see. But where was the odor coming from? She gingerly stepped to the refrigerator and opened it, causing a glow of light, temporarily blinding her. She glanced in, and then jerked her head back to avoid the overpowering rancid smell. Dear God, what WAS that in the plastic bag? For the life of her, she could swear it was a human head. She slammed the door closed.

Unable to escape the smell, she bent over double, holding back from retching. She closed her eyes. “I don’t get paid enough for this!” She said and rushed back toward the living room. On the way, she couldn’t stop herself from peering into the bedroom, where she was shocked by a skeleton, hanging from a noose.

She ran to the front door and grasped the door handle to escape, but it wouldn’t turn, covered in some sort of slime. Yanking her hand back, Ann screamed in frustration, “This is it! No more! Never! I’m absolutely, positively NEVER EVER going to visit a house again without the seller! NEVER!”

Patricia J. Hale has had stories published in Powder Burn Flash, Flashshot, Flash Pan Alley, and MicroHorror. And a couple of limericks in The Rap Sheet. She writes because she can’t stop herself. Her husband can’t stop her either. For her latest work see or reach her at Especially with paying gigs.

3 reactions:

Kelly Parra said...

haha! Yay, another Halloween story! Thanks, Patricia!

Anonymous said...

Nice story. Nice twist. You have to love a story that gives candy corn the scorn it deserves.


Anonymous said...

Terrific being here on Fictional Musings again. Thanks much for your comments!

r2, looking forward to whatever you get out there next!