The Shadow in the Corner

Flash Fiction Fridays

The rain fell steadily. Just outside the window it hit a drain pipe, over and over again. Ping…ping…ping… Somewhere off to the side of the outer wall it was striking something that made a sound like guitar strings being plucked. Twang…twang…twang… This was the sound that had woken Amy in the first place, or, at least she’d thought that was what awakened her.

She’d laid in bed for a long time, just listening to the rain and wondering whether it would be such an awful thing to call in sick today. She shivered at the idea of having to go out into that rain. She’d be soaked in moments, and with the temperature as low as it was she’d be freezing moments after that. In fact, now that she thought about it, surely the roads would be treacherous. That was definitely a good excuse.

She was just convincing herself that her boss would be totally on board with her skipping work to avoid vehicular suicide, when she thought she felt movement in the room. Her eyes flicked open and scanned the darkness. She could make out the shape of her desk, her dresser, and the little table she kept her mirror and makeup on. And there was another silhouette – a tall one – leering at her from the far corner of the room.

Amy didn’t even realize that she’d been holding her breath, but as she stared, wide-eyed and unblinking, her lips parted and a little gasp escaped. And the second that tiny breath of air floated past her tongue, the shadow moved toward her at incredible speed.

A minuscule voice in the very back of Amy’s head thought, Well I guess we don’t need an excuse to get out of work now.

Fantasy Versus Reality

Flash Fiction FridaysJamie thought about Super Mario.

The first of the franchise’s games in the Super Nintendo era, “Super Mario World”, had been Jamie’s first video game ever. He played that game so much that you could swear that the controller’s buttons were worn down a few millimeters. He’d played every stage about a hundred times – not because he couldn’t beat them, but because he was having so much fun that he never wanted to stop. He’d defeated Bowser and his kids so many times that he was confident, even now, that he could do it in his sleep.

Eventually he’d moved on to role-playing-games, like the Final Fantasy series, and those were fun but he’d never quite caught on to the kind of gameplay that required him to scroll through menus in the heat of battle. He wanted the action, the quick-thinking movements, the excitement of having to dodge attacks and initiate them simultaneously.

It took a few years, but eventually he found exactly what he was looking for: Halo. This was the game for him. It had space marines and aliens. It had little guns, big guns, and massive guns. It had bombs that you could stick to people. And Jamie didn’t have to just play the campaign missions…he could play in versus battles against his friends too! At least…until he got so good at the game that no one wanted to play with him anymore.

First-person-shooter games became his life. After demolishing the early Halo franchise he moved on and worked his way through the entire available roster. The Battlefield games, Counterstrike, all the Call of Duty options, anything with Tom Clancy’s name written on it. FarCry, Doom, Quake, and Borderlands. Gears of War, Crysis, Killzone, and the Clive Barker games. Jamie had played them all, and often with such fervor and frequency that he was at the top of every leaderboard, the most hated player on ever server.

Those were good times. And he’d thought that, surely, if he was this good at firing digital guns, real ones couldn’t possibly be that difficult, right?

Jamie quivered in a foxhole, clutching a spent magazine and the bloodied arm of his dead companion as shots and screams rang out all around him, and he thought of Super Mario.

NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Challenge #2: “The Intermediaries”

So, I was going to wait until “Flash Fiction Friday” to make this post, but, well, I don’t want to! We just got our confirmation e-mails that our Challenge #2 stories into the Flash Fiction Challenge have been accepted, which means that we can officially share our stories with the world and, more specifically, each other. Woo! (Also, *cough cough*, even though I’m posting this late Tuesday night, please consider it to be Wednesday’s blog post *cough cough*.)

So, my first challenge was a little difficult, requiring me to write an action/adventure story set in a sewer, while incorporating a canteen somewhere. That challenge wound up getting me 10 points (out of a possible 15), so I was pretty happy and you can read that story here if you’d like.

This challenge was a complete change-up. The genre was “ghost story”, the setting was “a school bus”, and somewhere in the story I was required to incorporate “a dirty bag of laundry”.

Honestly? I pretty much had the idea figured out right away, but it was surprisingly difficult to stick to the 1000 word limit! With the first challenge I just had to trim a little, but this story required some major hacking and rewriting, so I hope I managed to keep the overall story in one piece!

Anyway, without further ado, please enjoy “The Intermediaries”…

This story has been removed and is now an exclusive gift for supporters of my “Buy Me a Coffee” page. 


Flash Fiction FridaysHave you ever felt like something just wasn’t right, but you weren’t sure what or why?

The feeling came upon me as I was unloading the dishwasher. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I was lifting a water-stained glass from the plastic rack with a scowl when my gut suddenly clenched in a very unpleasant way. I knew something was wrong, something had…changed.

I wandered around the house for quite a while, trying to work out what my gut was trying to tell me. At first everything looked totally normal, but then I pulled aside the kitchen curtains. My backyard seemed so still, so quiet, which I guess shouldn’t have been too alarming, except that it’s usually quite windy in my town and not a single leaf was rustling on the trees. Then I released the curtains and they neglected to fall back into place. At first I almost didn’t take notice at the lack of movement, but as my brain rushed to catch up I found myself standing there, mouth agape, staring at the long strip of fabric that was coiled off to the side as though held there by an invisible hand. When the initial shock wore off I reached out a trembling finger and poked the curtain. It indented where my finger touched it and remained in the new position when I withdrew.

The next thing I knew I was out in the front yard, gaping in horror at the neighbor kid, suspended in midair with a skipping rope winding from hand to hand behind her back. There was a pleasant smile frozen on her face, but to me, at that moment, it was the most terrifying thing I’d ever seen.

The man up the road sat on an immobile ride-on mower, a beer half-raised to his mouth. A car backing out of a driveway up the road was perpetually paused at a forty-five degree angle. A robin that had taken a leap from its nest was hovering with its beak open only a few feet above my head.

And my gut twisted and writhed because I knew – I just knew – that somehow, this was all my fault.

“She’s Lost Everything” – A Flash Fiction Friday Post

Flash Fiction FridaysNote: The following is a tiny piece of flash fiction featuring a scene from the background story of The Other World: Book One. This part of the story does not actually occur as a scene in the book, but I thought it would be interesting to write. Enjoy!

There was no white light, no choir singing for her to join them in eternity. There was no gentle crossing over into another, more simple existence.

There was noise and confusion and pain.

Her body screamed and her mind wept; it wanted to shut down, to drift away and relieve her of this misery, but something inside her struggled to find its way back to reality. She grasped for her name, desperate to maintain herself in this sea of shrieking, burning horror, but it was just outside her grasp. Vi-? Victor? Victoria.

She could hear the way her mother’s voice had enunciated the name and she let out a horrible cry.

She thought she was in a hospital now. It was so bright and white, and so very, very loud. There were people all around her, poking and prodding, sticking her skin with needles and splinting her bones back together. The sounds were terrifying. She thought she should have been unconscious for all this. Why, oh why wasn’t she unconscious for all this?

“Heart rate rising,” said one voice.

“I need a hand here now!” cried another one.

Machines beeped and whirred as the people worked. She listened to them and wanted to scream because she didn’t understand what was happening, where she was, or where she was headed.

But yes, you do, said a little voice in the back of her mind. You remember the blood, the crying. You remember your parents rushing you into the car. You remember the headlights of the transfer truck and the shattering of glass. You remember-

“The baby…” whispered a sad voice, muffled through a medical mask. For a second that voice was the only sound Victoria could hear. “The poor girl…she’s lost everything now.”

And then all was chaos again, and she couldn’t struggle against the tide any longer. She felt herself sink deep, deep down, and truly prayed that she would never break the surface again.

Night Terrors

Flash Fiction Fridays

Kaitlyn woke in the dark. In that first moment she panicked, for she could hardly move, but then she realized that she had somehow squeezed herself underneath her parents’ bed. She had no idea how she’d gotten there.

She twitched and squirmed to work her way out from the confining space, and in her movement her fingers found a cylindrical object. Intrigued and confused, she fumbled with the object until she found a switch and the underside of the bed lit up like the crack of dawn. A flashlight, she thought to herself. What’s this doing under here? What am I doing under here?

She had almost worked her way out from under the bed when something out of the ordinary caught her eye. The floor didn’t look right. The patch of hardwood that she was wiggling toward was the wrong color. It almost looked like…

Kaitlyn bit her lip and tried not to cry out, but she couldn’t help the little squeak that escaped her lips.

That looks like blood.

She changed directions and squirmed toward the end of the bed rather than the side, and when she finally escaped she had to force herself to look around the room.

The floor on her mother’s side of the bed was painted with red, and the bedsheets on both sides looked as though they’d been soaked in it.

Kaitlyn backed away from the bed, a scream barely held back by the hand she’d raised to her mouth. It wasn’t until she banged into the dresser behind her that she realized there was something sticking out of her back pocket. She felt it pressing into her back – the edged blade slick with sticky red – but she couldn’t look at it, wouldn’t look at it.

Kaitlyn sunk to the floor, switched off the flashlight, and lay down in the dark.


Flash Fiction Fridays

It was very loud inside the plant.

“Double Hearing Protection Required” read the signs that seemed to be posted every ten feet or so. “Noise Levels Exceeding 85 db”

Good, the woman thought to herself.

She walked past equipment that she couldn’t name – complicated mechanisms attached to motors as big as her entire car, and small blue devices with digital readouts that meant absolutely nothing to her. All along every wall were stainless steel cabinets emblazoned with strings of letters and numbers, along with bright red stickers that warned: “DANGER! Energized Equipment”.

She could almost admire the miles of pipework intimately woven together and traveling from room to room, carrying their fare. “Gland Water” said the large sticker on one. “HP Steam” read another. She idly wondered what the “HP” stood for and decided that “Steam” was information enough. On a whim she reached out her fingers to touch this particular pipe and immediately snatched her hand back. So hot.

And so loud. She had no earplugs, no industrial earmuffs like the picture that accompanied the noise level warnings. Her entire head rang with the continuous pulse and hum of motors and pumps, high voltage electricity, and the rush of product through pipes. She thought it very likely that she would sustain damage to her hearing if she remained here much longer, but she paid the thought no mind. She hadn’t yet found what she was looking for.

So she continued on, feeling rather than hearing the click of her heels against the cement floors as she walked. She went past sewer grates belching puffs of putrid-smelling steam, past nests of cables that seemed to snake off in every direction, and past enormous, pressure-driven valves that slammed shut so violently they could easily slice man’s hand clean off.

That thought made her smile.

It wasn’t long after that, on the third floor of the building, that she found them. All three were a filthy mess, their fur covered with dirt and matted with thick red fluid. The oldest was licking his claws clean while the two younger batted a blood-soaked hard-hat back and forth.

“No bits left at all,” the woman observed with a tap of her foot. “You must have been hungry.”

Though the din of the plant was enough to deafen a man, the three siblings heard her soft voice and gazed up at her with sheepishness in their black eyes.

All she could do was smile and crook a finger at them. “Time to go home, children,” she cooed. “And be thankful that no one could have heard him scream.”

The Hunted

Flash Fiction FridaysThe sun fell gently beneath the horizon at the edge of the forest, and at that exact moment soft snowflakes began to fall from the night sky. The hunter crouched amongst the brush, silent, and let the feather-light flakes gather on his body. He would not move, would not risk exposure, until he was certain he had the upper-hand on his prey.

The moon peeked out from behind the clouds, just a little, coyly witnessing the scene. It shined just enough of its light to the ground to make the new-fallen snow glimmer.

A sound came from the trees ten meters to the left. The hunter did not move, but his fingers tensed around the shotgun in his hands. He would have to be fast, he knew. Faster even than he thought he was capable of being. His trigger-finger twitched, waiting, ready.

A bunny, still in his brown summer coat, burst forth from the berry bushes. The hunter’s heart almost gave out on him, but he’d been careful, he hadn’t moved. He would not move until he was certain.

“You’re certainly diligent…” a sultry voice whispered in his ear.

He was fast – faster even than he thought he was capable of being – but it wasn’t fast enough. By the time he’d twisted and shoved himself through the brush, his shotgun ringing out through the calm, quiet night, she had moved too. The gun was ripped from his hand, as if a candy from a child, and two cool, soft arms slithered around his chest from behind.

A few strands of raven-black hair blew past his face as onyx claws sunk into the skin of his chest and blood-red lips whispered in his ear.

“I’ll bet you’re tasty too.”

The Vines

Flash Fiction FridaysThe vines would have to be removed.

That was the first thought that popped into Ashley’s head as he stared up at the house – his house, he reminded himself.

The second thought was, Wow, I can’t believe I’m really doing this.

The house was everything he’d expected and more, a surprise gift left to Ashley in the will of a great-grandfather he hadn’t even known was still alive. His friends had urged him to sell the house and the land, to use the cash to jump-start his art career, but Ashley had wanted to see the gift his predecessor had left him in person before he made any decisions.

And now he knew that he could never sell it.

The grounds were nothing special: an acre of land that was covered in untended landscaping and unruly underbrush in every direction. The house itself, however, was gorgeous, at least to Ashley’s eyes. No one had been able to tell him exactly when it had been built, but he was confident that it was no younger than a hundred years, possibly much older. It had two large towers whose roofs ended in sharp points – one in the back left corner that appeared to be five stories high, and one in the front right corner that was three. The main bulk of the house was a sprawling, two-story beauty with huge rectangular windows that spanned almost the entire length of the rooms within. Stone columns to either side of the double front door held aloft a twenty-foot-long balcony with glass doors leading out to it.

Only the chipping gray paint and the vines growing intrusively up the outer walls detracted from the loveliness of the aging treasure.

The vines would definitely have to be removed.

Flash Fiction Fridays: Deadly Addiction

For the past while – in fact, quite a while – I’ve kind of lost my way a little when it comes to this blog. I enjoy sharing stuff like subscription box reviews, Daily Post prompts, and random thoughts about my life, and I have no intention of stopping any of that, but someone going through my posts for the past several months would hardly even know that this is a writer’s blog.

I plan to correct this issue with a couple of new “features”, and the first will be to reinstate a previous method of sharing fiction writing on Fridays. When I used to do this before I called it “Fiction Fragment Fridays”, and I would usually share something that I had previously written at some point in the past. This time I’ve tweaked things a bit. I am calling this polished version of the feature “Flash Fiction Fridays”, and there will be nothing old hastily thrown in at the last minute here. Fridays, from here on out, will be about sharing new writing, a drabble or short-story or what-have-you that I wrote that week. Everything will be fresh, and in this way I’ll be forcing myself to write something – anything – in a fiction genre every week.

Since I had to go through the whole explanation this time I’ll be sharing a quick drabble today. For those of you who don’t know, a drabble is a super-short story of exactly 100 words, and they’re a lot harder to write than they sound! Check mine out and then try writing one for yourself!

Today’s drabble is called: Deadly Addiction

She woke with a soft sigh. The sun was warm on her skin, the scent of wildflowers sweet to her nose. Bluebirds chirped happily nearby. For a moment she was calm, quiet, enjoying the nature around her.

But eventually she had to turn and face the man she’d picked up at the bar – her most recent victim. It was a simple thing to convince him to follow her through the woods; simpler yet was slitting his throat and letting his life pour past her lips.

Dead eyes met hers, accusatory.

Next one, she thought, I won’t kill the next one.