Tag Archives: flash fiction

AC

 

She exhaled. The air froze her breath, turning it to mist.

She turned, her high ponytail bouncing, and headed towards the fridge.

In her home hung icy stalactites. The floor was slick as a rink.

She cracked off an icicle as she passed through a door and picked her teeth with it.

Once this room was stiflingly warm, full of chaos and arguments and pets and children and steaming meals. Every blanket was a shared blanket. There wasn’t enough house to go around.

Now things were much better.

She checked her fridge and swore to herself. There wasn’t enough milk for her to make the ice cream. It was already time for another grocery run?

Grabbing her keys, she put on a visor and sunglasses, a light shawl, considered sunblock but decided against it.

When she opened the door, the sun hit her hard, even through the sunglasses. She took a deep breath of conditioned air before heading out. Her mantra would get her through this: only five minutes, only five minutes. Then she could be back home, making ice cream, enjoying the cold dark quiet isolation of her safe, safe house. With any luck, she wouldn’t have to talk to a single person.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Housesitting

 

Checking up on my friend’s house while he was on vacation, I did a quick walk through, tweaking the thermostat, flushing the toilets.

As I was poking through the fridge for expired items, movement caught the corner of my eye. Something white on the kitchen floor. Before I could focus my attention on it, it had already slipped through the archway.

I followed to investigate, but it was no longer there. Perhaps it was my imagination.

No, there it was again! Going into the bedroom. It looked like the hem of someone’s dress.

Panic gripped me by the neck. There was no one else here. Not one sound but the abnormally audible ticking of the kitchen clock.

Hesitantly, I followed it into the bedroom.

And just saw the edge of it going into the bathroom.

There was nowhere left for it to go now.

Bracing myself for… I don’t know what, my hands shaking, I forced my weak legs to follow after it.

I rounded the corner and saw a woman in a white wedding dress standing before the mirror. She was taking down her old-fashioned hairstyle, removing hairpin after hairpin from her chestnut locks.

I blinked, and she was gone.

Before, I was shaking from fear. Now I was shivering from the unnatural cold that sank straight into my bones. I could see my breath.

Nope.

Rushing back through the house, I grabbed my purse and left through the front door, pausing to lock it behind me with trembling hands. I’d accidentally left my water bottle in there, but I wasn’t going back.

I texted my friend. “You don’t need a housesitter,” I typed. “Someone is already staying here. You can keep your $50!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Just for Fun

The best thing about it being October is that means I can indulge in as much horror writing as I want, and nobody can complain! *evil laughter*

 


 

Ellen opened her orange flowered backpack and pulled out a small journal, as long as her hand, bound in ancient red leather. It looked very old, the corners worn thin.

“This is it,” she said, passing the book to me as we sat together on the edge of the bed. “My grandmother passed this down to me. She said one of my ancestors, who was put on trial by Puritans in the 1600’s, wrote it.”

I touched the cover with my fingertips reverently, then opened it.

Handwritten Latin script, nearly faded. Some pages were written in rusty brown. Blood as ink? There were diagrams of spells, recipes. Charms to get well. Curses and hexes. The writing was hurried in places, missing information in others; clearly the author had not intended for this to be seen. It smelled like old, old paper. Gorgeous. I couldn’t believe any spellbooks from this period had survived.

“Here’s the one you were talking about,” I said, pausing my perusal and translating as best as I could. “’Malit Bond. To conjure a demon to do your bidding.’ Oh wow, does it say it needs blood?”

“Human blood,” she said, nodding. She was always better than me in Latin class.

“Have you tried any of these?”

She shook her head. “Too scary to try alone,” she said with a weak chuckle.

“We have to try it together then,” I said. “This is too cool.”

“Yeah… but… what if it’s real?”

“Yeah!” I said. “What if it is!”

She squeezed her hands between her knees, a nervous gesture I knew well. “Doesn’t that spell require a bat? Aren’t they endangered or something?”

I grinned at her. “You’ve been over and over this book, you even know the ingredients of the spells, and you’re acting like you don’t want to try it? It’ll be fun. Like Bloody Mary, or a seance. Maybe we’ll meet a demon!”

“It would be fun to be a witch,” she said, a little spark coming into her eye. “I could hex Britney with hepatitis, or make Zach fall in love with me.”

“I’ll get the bat,” I said. “You get the easy stuff.”

 

 

The circle was drawn. Ellen had pricked both of our forearms with a paring knife and mixed our blood to use as ink. She was really getting caught up in it; I’m not sure how she had gleaned so many little details about the ceremony out of that difficult text. Around the circle five were candles lit, in the middle was a sixth unlit one of black wax, a pillar candle she’d stolen from her mom’s Halloween decorations. I’d laughed when she told me that.

Holding hands, we said the last line together: “Malit, we conjure you! Aid us! We will meet your desires as you meet ours.”

Nothing happened.

Just as I had expected. Well, it had been a fun experiment. I was about to make a joke to Ellen about it, when the candle in the middle of the circle lit itself.

We stared.

“Um, your book… doesn’t say what to do next?” I managed.

Ellen shook her head mutely.

The flame of the candle grew, grew. The wax ran, then caught fire as the flame swelled. It stretched so tall, Ellen and I had to step back from the heat.

The flame took shape, hardened, and there it was. A demon. Red, goat legs and horns, hairy, wild staring eyes. Just as the Puritans had drawn him. Although the flame was gone, scorching heat still radiated from his body.

It looked at us, then down at the circle in which it stood.

“We… would like to form a contract,” I croaked.

Malit irritably rubbed out a character in the summoning circle with one hoofed foot. “Amateurs,” he said. His voice was low, with a goatlike tremble. “I am displeased to be here, and summoned by children no less. Do you ask for a bond? Speak quickly.”

I was unprepared for this turn of events. It was a larger commitment than I’d expected to make. My hands were shaking. “I…”

“Yes,” Ellen piped up. Her voice was clear and confident, unlike mine. She wasn’t trembling. Her cheeks were flushed.

She had caught Malit’s attention. He appraised her at length. “You have witch blood in you,” he said. “I would take you as my consort, but there is a cost. To make a bond you must break a bond.”

“I am prepared,” Ellen said.

“Consort?” I said. “Wait. Ellen. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into!”

Ellen still held my hand. She squeezed my fingers. “I really do,” she said. “I’m sorry, Kate. You’ve been a good friend to me. But this is my heritage.”

She touched me lightly behind the neck, leaned in close, and gave me a kiss on the cheek. “Ellen,” I said smally. “What does it mean, you have to break a bond?”

I caught a flash of metal out of the corner of my eye. Deep, deep pain blossomed in my neck.

“I’ll try to do this quick,” she said. She really did look sorry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

The Visitors

 

I opened the window long before sunrise. Then I walked through the whole house, looking for anything that they might use against me in the light. A piece of hard candy on the floor could be a fatal mistake.

I had to placate them.

Even though I hadn’t told them anything, my children were on edge. They knew something was wrong. Kids are good at reading their parents.

A small sound in the hallway made me jump. But it was only my youngest daughter, in her footie pajamas, her face screwed up in childish misery.

“Mommy,” she said. “What is that smell?”

“Quiet, baby. It’s just the Visitors. Go back to sleep. I love you.” I held her close so she wouldn’t see my tears. I love you.

By the time she went back to sleep, the daylight was upon us in full force. I hadn’t begun the sacrifice. I hadn’t done enough. It didn’t matter; no matter how much I did, it was never enough.

I hurried to the kitchen and got out the eggs, the bacon, the butter for the sacrifice. They must be appeased.

A fatty thumping on the stairs.

Oh my god oh my god.

And there in the kitchen archway stood a harbinger of the apocalypse, my mother in law, cigarette in hand. She wore a puffy pink robe, which had fallen open, exposing her grotesque choices in underwear and in self-care.

“Where’s breakfast,” she snarled.

The other one would be down any minute. Soon our home would become a hellscape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Garlic breath

 

“Kiss me,” she said.

He wasn’t sure. He could smell the garlic from here, and it wasn’t pretty.

“I have an idea,” he said, leaning away. “How about we whip up some mint milkshakes?” It was a good idea, but she wasn’t biting.

“I’m fuuuuuull,” she pouted. The garlic rolled by him as she whined the word, an invisible tsunami that hit him with nearly physical force. It was all he could do to keep himself upright.

“I can’t,” he murmured. “I just can’t.”

“What?”

“I SAID I CAN’T,” he cried out desperately. “I’m sorry! You’re just too garlicky!”

Her warm, cozy expression shattered. “What?”

“I’m so sorry! I can’t be in this room with you any more!”

He ran like the hounds of hell were after him, burst out the door, stumbled down the stairs, and zoomed away in his car.

She leaned back in the couch, nonplussed. She never got a reaction like that from a man. Garlic odor? What an odd way for his fears to manifest.

She grabbed her phone and sent a group text to her coven.

Sorry gals. He was a sensitive, sensed something wrong and ran. I’ll get us a fresh one tomorrow night, I promise.

 

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