Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Story #8 - The Green-Faced Witch

 This one might not scare the pants off of you, but I hope it'll take you back to old campfire stories you heard in your youth. I wrote this one for the young teen/tween set, but I think it's fun, and it takes place on Halloween night, so it's a perfect wrap for my eight days of revisited Friday Flash horror stories. I hope you enjoy the read!

The Green-Faced Witch
by Eric J. Krause

Jeremy stalked over to the snack table and let out an exaggerated sigh. Why did it have to rain on Halloween night? He had the perfect costume and everything. He would have had a full bag of candy, but instead Mom forbade him from trudging around the neighborhood in the wet weather. Now he was stuck at a party in his school's auditorium.

He scarfed down a few chips and scanned the room for his friends. Before he spotted anyone, a voice came from behind him. "Fun party, huh?"

He turned and found a girl in a witch costume. He didn't recognize her, but she looked pretty cute underneath all the green makeup. "I guess. I'd rather be out Trick or Treating."

"Not me. Parties are way more fun. You get to meet all sorts of people."

He squinted, trying to figure out who she was, but no luck. "Do you go to school here?"

"I used to. I like to come back and visit on Halloween."

Before she could elaborate, Mr. Martin, the assistant principal, spoke up. "Gather around, everyone. It can't be Halloween without a spooky story."

The witch grabbed Jeremy's hand. Her grip was ice cold and clammy, as if she'd just come in from the wet weather. She led him over to the group, and they all formed a circle. The lights shut off, and Mr. Martin held up a flashlight to his face. Everyone giggled, but quieted quickly in anticipation of the story.

"Thirty years ago tonight," Mr. Martin said in his creepiest voice, "a student from this very school went out Trick or Treating with her friends. She dressed up as a witch, complete with green makeup covering her face. She had a great time, and pulled in a sack-full of candy, but when they got to the large house right across the street from the school, they stopped."

One of the kids called out, "But there's no house across the street. It's a mini-mall."

Mr. Martin nodded. "It is now, but back then, it was a rickety old mansion. Most kids, and even many adults, kept their distance because they said it was haunted. And no one could dispute that, especially on dark Halloween nights.

"The young witch's group of friends crossed the street to stay as far away from the house as possible. But not her. She saw a light on and guessed whoever lived there probably had the best candy. What better place to Trick or Treat than at a haunted house? None of her friends would go up there with her. Instead, they watched as she approached the front of the house alone.

"As she stepped up to the door, it creaked open, but no one was there. She pushed it all the way open and called out, "Is anyone here?" She received no answer. Just as she started to turn away to go back to her friends, a small sign in the middle of the floor caught her eye. "This way for candy," it read. How could she pass that up? She stepped inside, and the door slammed shut.

"Her friends hollered at her to come back out, but the door remained closed. One friend ran to a pay phone in front of the school--remember, this was before people carried cell phones--and called the police. When an officer showed up a few minutes later and walked through the house, no one was there. The girl was never seen again.

"People say on dark Halloween nights, just like this one, a strange girl in a witch costume can be seen wandering around the area looking for her friends."

Mr. Martin gave a sinister laugh, and the auditorium lights flashed back on. No one said anything for a few seconds, but then the room filled with laughs and applause. Jeremy turned to the girl in the witch costume to ask if she liked the story, especially since she was dressed the same as the ghost, but she was gone.

Darren, a kid he knew from his math class, was sitting a few feet away. "Hey, did you see where the girl that was here went?"

Darren gave him a funny look. "What are you talking about? There was no girl sitting here. You walked over here alone."

Jeremy's blood froze, and he pulled out his cell phone to call his parents. It was time to go home and hide under the covers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Story #7 - Bloody Mary

For the day before Halloween, I hope you agree this one fits the scary bill. It's also a bit gory, but that's perfect for the season, too, right? I wonder how many of you played this game as kids. If you're reading this, the results were nothing like this tale. Enjoy!

Bloody Mary
by Eric J. Krause

Jenni handed Samantha a thumbtack. "Jab your thumb and wipe the blood on your forehead. Then spin around three times and say, 'Bloody Mary,' each time."

"No," Samantha said. "That'll hurt."

"But you said 'dare,'" Melinda said. "If you don't do it, you lose."

"And we tell the whole school you like Gerald Wilcox," Jenni said.

Samantha froze. They would, too. They'd been holding that threat over her head to make her do whatever they wanted ever since Jenni saw her doodles proclaiming her love for Gerald on the inside of her notebook. Fine. What was a few seconds of pain compared to an entire school year of torture?

"What happens after I spin and say her name?"

"Bloody Mary will show up in the mirror over the fireplace," Melinda said.

Samantha chuckled. "And then she'll grant me my greatest wish, right?"

The other two girls rolled their eyes. "No," Jenni said. "She'll probably do something bloody. Why do you think they call her Bloody Mary?"

Samantha held out her thumb and positioned the tack over it. The two girls squealed in delight and pushed closer. They hadn't thought she'd do it. She nicked her thumb, bringing a quick sting, and fought hard not to jam it in her mouth. Instead, as the rules said, she rubbed the blood on her forehead and spun three times, chanting "Bloody Mary," with each spin. Only then did she suck her thumb to quell the bleeding.

Jenni was the unlucky one who noticed first. She let out a gasp and pointed to the mirror. Blood poured down her face as her eyeballs melted. Melinda screamed and tried to run out of the room, but her yells turned to gags, and she skidded down on the carpet. Her tongue turned to gore, and blood gushed from her mouth.

An evil presence grabbed Samantha by the chin and forced her to look at the mirror. A beautiful woman with alabaster skin, a blood-red dress, and glowing eyes smiled down at her.

"How did you trick them into letting you call me, my daughter?" Bloody Mary asked.

Samantha flashed a wicked grin. "Mind manipulation. These two stupid sluts proved to be no challenge."

"All because of the boy?"

Samantha scoffed and gave her mother a look that said she was getting a bit dull in her old age. "Not any boy. Unwittingly or not, they did almost force out the Anti-Christ before his time. The agents of good would have no doubt intervened and put an end to his wicked ways before we could even start. And where would that leave us?"

A whimper escaped Jenni as she tried to look around the room with holes where her eyes used to be. A strangled moan erupted from Melinda as she reached into her mouth, only to find her tongue obliterated.

"Let me put them out of their miseries, Daughter. I swear, sometimes you surpass even me in your cruelty."

"Don't go soft on me, Mother. We've been planning this for two millennia. These girls mean nothing in the grand scheme of things."

"Fine, fine. Shall I take my leave for now?"

A look of hate flashed across Samantha's face. "Not yet. The blind one's parents are around somewhere. Don't you think their genitals need to be punished for breeding such a stupid bitch?"

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Story #6 - The Fantabulous Funnybone Floatiboats

I enjoyed naming this one because it really doesn't fit the mood of the story, which I hope you will agree is pretty spooky. And gruesome. I still cringe at a certain part late in the story. I wonder if you will do the same? Enjoy reading!

The Fantabulous Funnybone Floatiboats
by Eric J. Krause

Heidi waited for the last boat to cycle through, and then grabbed her waders, flashlight, and walkie-talkie. She couldn't put into words how much she dreaded Tuesday nights, her turn to walk the flume. As light and airy as it was during the day, the building was that much darker and heavier once the last guest left.

She took a deep breath and stepped down into the water. Though it was only 18 inches deep and the waders were insulated, she felt chills flash all over her body. That wasn't from anything other than her dread and anticipation. So far.

During the day, the Fantabulous Funnybones sang and danced to the delight of the children, and to a lesser extent, their parents. Now, though, in the dark of night, the various dogs, cats, and mice stared down with menace in their dead, mechanical eyes. But as creepy as the robots were, they weren't the problem. No, the real problems drifted unseen around the lifeless automatons.

Or at least that's what the stories said. And as much as she laughed about it with her coworkers in the well-lit break room, she didn't when she was down here alone.

She sloshed through the first room without incident. The flume and propulsion devices worked fine, and she didn't hear any cringe-worthy sounds. Just as she did every Tuesday night, she said, "One down, four to go," referring to the various rooms of the ride.

It started in the second room. Just tappings and footsteps up among the characters. Heidi ignored it, instead focusing on the flume. She'd heard it all before. But then came a whisper that caused her blood to run cold.

"Heidi, Heidi." She couldn't tell where it originated from, but she knew right away it wasn't human. The malice in the voice caused her to pick up her pace. Her flashlight stayed trained on the flume and propulsion system, but her attention remained up amongst the cartoon characters. She saw nothing.

As she passed from the second room to the third, she walked through the coldest spot she'd ever felt. If every air conditioning vent in the building was pointed to that one area, it wouldn't have been as cold. She sloshed a few steps forward, and the air remained frozen. A voice, different from the one before, said something, but it was so garbled that she couldn't understand. This time she lifted her flashlight, but other than the various Funnybone characters, she saw nothing.

After a few more feet, the voice returned, and this time she had no problem understanding it. "Die, die, die." As it spoke, something splashed into the water in front of her. A scream escaped her lips, and she positioned her flashlight so she could see. It was an animatronics eye. She pulled out her walkie-talkie, intent on calling for help. She'd feel stupid relaying the story, but at this point, she didn't care.

Before she could press the talk button, the ride turned on. But that was impossible. A padlock lay attached to the start mechanism, and the only key was in her pocket. Either someone had cut the lock, which they wouldn't do--they knew she was in here--or even more improbable, something in here caused an override.

As the Fantabulous Funnybones sang their signature song of tolerance and peace, the water propulsion jets spit out more air than necessary to move the boats at a steady pace. It knocked Heidi off-balance, and the walkie-talkie flew from her hand. It splashed into the water at the same time she did, but it was far out of her reach and already rushing away in the current.

She tried to prop herself up, but her hand slipped on the bottom. Her head went under, and before she could pull it out, hands pushed her down. She struggled and tried to scream, but water rushed into her lungs. She'd only been under a second, and she already felt the first signs of drowning. She knew she shouldn't panic, but with phantom hands still pushing down, that was impossible. Thrashing about did no good.

Her head hit the bottom, and the hands disappeared. She pushed up, but pain assaulted her scalp. Through the chlorinated water, she saw her hair stuck in one of the propulsion mechanisms. A quick yank broke a good chunk of hair loose (with a fair amount of scalp). It wasn't enough. She still couldn't rise. And she'd already taken in too much water. Unless she acted fast, she was going to drown in a foot and a half of water.

Heidi grasped her hair and planted her feet on the bottom of the flume. It would hurt like a bitch, but her legs were strong enough to pull her free. And she had to hurry. Not only was she about to pass out, but the boats had no doubt been launched. With the speed of the propulsion jets, they'd not only get to her in a hurry, but would hit too hard to survive.

With the speed of the water, she couldn't get traction on the bottom of the flume. She tried a new angle and moved her feet to the side of the flume. She pushed hard, screamed out the last of the air in her lungs as her scalp ripped, and freed herself. She pushed up, but before she broke the surface, the first boat slammed into her. She didn't die right away, but it pinned her down, trapping her at the bottom.

As the happy music of the Fantabulous Funnybone Floatiboat attraction played above her, the last thing she heard was a raspy voice.

"Join us."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Story #5 - The Scarecrow

Who's spooked by scarecrows? Surprisingly, this one was written in May of 2010 instead of October. I think it goes great with the Halloween season. Enjoy the read!

The Scarecrow
by Eric J. Krause

Teddy lifted one strand of barbed wire high enough for Cal to scoot through unscathed. They'd thought earlier the full moon would hinder them by illuminating their shenanigans, but the bright light had thus far proved to be their ally in sneaking onto the Johnstone farm.

Cal pointed at the paint cans and brushes. "Pass those over, and then I'll help you through." Teddy complied, and less than a minute later they headed towards the main barn.

"This'll teach his ass," Cal muttered under his breath.

Teddy nodded but said nothing. Cal hadn't explained how Farmer Johnstone had messed with him. But if Cal said the farmer was in the wrong, that was good enough for Teddy.

"There's the barn. Think of good cuss words to paint on the side."

Teddy frowned. "Cuss words? I thought we were just going to give it a crappy paint job."

"Yeah, that'd show him. Let's do his chores. The paint job on there now is so piss-poor, I don't think it's possible to make it worse."

Teddy's retort died in his throat. The scarecrow was looking at him. But that wasn't the weird part. Its eyes glowed ruby red. And they followed him.

"What the hell's up with that scarecrow?"

Cal looked over at it. "What? It's a scarecrow. Now you're afraid of scarecrows and cuss words?"

Teddy felt himself blush. "No, no. It just . . ." What? Looked at him? He glanced back and saw it was nothing but a crude, lifeless face. "Never mind."

Teddy thought he heard Cal mutter that he should have brought Dean instead. He gritted his teeth and promised himself he wouldn't disappoint Cal.

"Alright. You got some good words?"

Teddy nodded and tried to catch his breath. He was nervous, but not as much as this warranted. It felt like he'd just run the mile in PE. He glanced back and saw the scarecrow staring at him again, its glowing eyes back.



Teddy wanted Cal to look at the scarecrow to tell him he wasn't crazy, but he caught himself. He didn't want Cal to start hanging out with other people because he was a chicken.


"Uh, what if we just did one cuss word per wall. I mean, we'll write it a bunch of times, but each one will have a cuss word theme."

Cal thought for a second, then smiled. "See? This is why I brought you. That's brilliant."

Teddy could only nod. His whole body felt like it was being pushed to the ground. He looked up at the moon. Did it look bigger than normal tonight?

No, the moon wasn't the problem. The scarecrow . . .

Teddy looked back at it and had to stifle a scream. Its face. It was . . . different. He shook his head. Wasn't its mouth straight across before? A piece of string? Now it looked almost real.

"Come on, bro, we need to finish before we get caught." Cal was already painting "shit" over and over on one wall. "Either help me or pick a different wall to start on."

Teddy decided to head around the corner to get away from the scarecrow. Neither his feet nor the paint can wanted to lift up. He glanced over his shoulder and tripped, spilling the paint.

"Dude! Watch it! Now we won't have enough."

He opened his mouth to apologize, but couldn't. The scarecrow. It moved. It couldn't be the wind, as there wasn't so much as a breeze. No, it'd shifted on its own.

"It's moving, Cal, it's moving!"

Cal dropped his paintbrush. "What? Old man Johnstone? Crap! Grab your stuff and book." He grabbed his paint can, shoved the brush in, and took off the way they came.

Teddy watched him go. He wanted to follow, but couldn't move. He couldn't even scream. He found that out as the scarecrow stumbled towards him, the hay and leaved stuffed inside shuffling about.

It reached him and smiled. How had he ever viewed its face as anything other than real? The odor emanating from it, though a pleasant harvest blend on the surface, had a decay underneath that had nothing to do with nature. It reached out and brushed his cheek with an outstretched finger. It felt like a mix between a dried-out leaf and a squished slug. If he had any control of his muscles, he'd have retched and spilled his dinner down with the paint.

"Your turn," it said in a barely audible whisper.

It pushed its palm onto his forehead, and the world blinked. When everything reappeared, he found himself standing in the middle of the Johnstone field. At least he thought he was standing. He couldn't feel anything at all.

After a few minutes of trying, he flopped his head around, though he wished he hadn't. Not only was he wearing the scarecrow's clothes, complete with hay and leaves, but someone who looked exactly like him was hightailing it out of the field.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Halloween Story #4 - Pumpkin Patch of the Damned

 This one comes from all the way back on October 30, 2009. It's not a horror story, per se, but some of you who hate venturing out on Saturday afternoons might find it to be. I hope you enjoy this one!

Pumpkin Patch of the Damned
by Eric J. Krause

Why the hell wasn't this ever an easy process? And every year Daisy had to come during the game. Just because there were games morning, noon, and night on Saturdays didn't make it any better. Think of all the great plays he was missing.

"Daddy, can I go in the bouncy house?"

He looked over at the purple balloon structure shaped like a haunted house, complete with a blow-up Frankenstein and a few sheets with eye holes cut in them glued to the side. Those things used to be a huge treat when he was a kid, but nowadays you couldn't go a city block without bouncing into one.

"No, we're going to grab a pumpkin and get out of here."

"Don't listen to your father. Go have fun, baby."

"Yo, Dad, a corn maze. I'm gonna go check it out."

A corn maze? In the suburbs? He'd been in a corn maze once when he was a kid. His parents drove he and his brothers an hour and a half out of town to get to a farm in the country. Now here was one in this empty lot that'd probably be a Denny's or a Walgreens by this time next year.

"No, we're just here for a pumpkin. Go grab your sister and pick one out so we can get on home."

"Pish-posh. Go have fun, sweetie. Don't get lost!"

He turned to Daisy, ready to tell her off. She'd promised him fifteen minutes, half-an-hour tops. Now here she was sending the kids off to pointless activities instead of what they were here for: to find a carving pumpkin.

Before he could lay into her, her eyes sparkled. "Ooh, a craft fair. You don't mind, do you honey?"

Holy hell, a craft fair? How could this lot hold so much crap? Were there even any damn pumpkins in this pumpkin patch? None that he'd seen. Next year they'd just get one at the megamart down the street. If they'd done that this time, he'd be on his way home by now to watch State versus U.

"No, Daisy. Come on. You promised. Get the kids, let's pick out a pumpkin, and we'll get out of here."

Of course she paid him no mind and wandered over to the half-dozen or so booths, her hand already in her purse to snatch out her wallet.

He found a random bale of hay and took a seat. His eyes scanned all three attractions, but he couldn't spot the kids or his wife. Would he ever see them again, or was he stuck forever here in this pumpkin patch of the damned?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Story #3 - The Black and White Photograph

 In this third installment of eight for Halloween, I'm revisiting my Friday Flash from October 14, 2010. This one is a horror story set in a first-grade classroom that involves a mystical photograph. I hope it gives you the creeps. Enjoy!

The Black and White Photograph
by Eric J. Krause

Andrea sat at her desk with her lukewarm coffee and glanced at the clock. A half-hour until first-grade recess. In years past, these oral reports usually took about that long, but this class never made anything easy. No doubt they'd do everything they could to stall the process, so she figured on another half-hour after recess. But she'd put a button on this project, even if it took the rest of the school day.

The first few students did a great job. She had to prompt them to give their first and last names--they found it silly since everyone already knew who they were--but otherwise it went quick and smooth. They showed an old family photograph, briefly explained what the picture was about, and said why they liked it. Instead of having each student take five minutes to allow everyone to scrutinize the picture (and, yes, this group would drag it out to a full five minutes or more), she'd promised they could get up and look at all the photos at the end. That would be a horribly noisy unorganized chunk of time, but it was better than wasting that same amount with each presentation.

Though a few of her usual suspects mucked up the process a bit with feet dragging and excess questions, she was pleased with the kids. They might hit recess with only a few left to complete. But up next was one of her wildcards. Maude (such a strange name for a child nowadays) could give the best report of the day, or she'd forget about her photo altogether and perform a song and dance. To Andrea's relief, the girl clutched a black and white photograph on her way to the front of the class.

When Maude held up the picture, everyone in class, even her most rowdy boys, went silent. Andrea perked up because this never happened. Jared and Hector would whisper and giggle even if she brought in their favorite animated feature to watch.

"This is my great-great-great Grandma Maude. She's relaxing in her favorite sofa on a warm day. I love this picture because she's me."

"You mean she looks like you, Maude?" Andrea asked. She couldn't see the picture clear enough from back at her desk to tell. Or was Maude simply confused because she shared her ancestor's name?

Maude looked up and flashed a wicked grin, unlike any a six year old should possess. "No, Mrs. Billups. Watch."

Some sort of energy pulsed out of the photo, and every student slumped down in their desk. A few face-planted hard on the surface. How was she going to explain broken and bloodied noses to the parents?

"And now I have seventeen more souls stored up next time I need to be young again. But I can always use another."

Before Andrea could do anything, Maude stepped forward and held up the photo. The woman in the picture really did look like the girl. The eyes glowed silver, and she couldn't look away.

"It's true about photography and the stealing of souls. It's not the camera that does it, but properly prepared photographs. Don't worry, Mrs. Billups. You won't remember this until you die."

The glowing eyes flashed, and Andrea found herself sitting at her desk. Maude walked back to her seat, her photo in hand. Had she given a presentation? Andrea couldn't remember. She glanced around the room and saw four or five of the kids sporting bloody noses. The entire class noticed at that same moment, and all hell broke loose.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Story #2 - Chained Love

In this second Friday Flash Horror/Halloween revisit, I have a zombie love story of sorts for you. This one comes from way back on the 1st of July, 2010. I hope you have fun reading it!

Chained Love
by Eric J. Krause

The chains on the bed rattled, jarring him from his uneasy slumber. Meredith needed to feed again. Sean headed for the kitchen for the raw hamburger. She calmed down, seemingly aware of what he was up to.


Sean clicked off the radio, unable to stomach any more talk about the new zombie epidemic. Besides, he was almost home. He'd take Meredith up to their cabin in the mountains. It was fully stocked with food and water for emergencies, though he'd always figured the crisis would be an earthquake or flood, not zombies. Whatever. They'd beat this. Together.

As he pulled into the driveway, he saw something lying on the front porch. Something mauled. Something bloody.

He put the car in park and leapt out. Tears filled his eyes as he guessed what this was. They'd been here and gotten to Meredith. He broke down right there when he saw he wasn't mistaken. Her body was decimated by bite and rip marks; her head attached only by a few sinews of muscle.


The hamburger disappeared fast. Meredith took big bites out of the middle, but ate carefully around his fingers, even though he wore heavy-duty work gloves. Was this thing trying to lull him into a false sense of security, or was she still in there? Best not to dwell on it. The isolation was close enough to driving him mad without such thoughts.

With the meat gone, she licked and sucked the excess off his fingers. A week or so ago, before she'd been constructed of rotting flesh, it would've turned him on. Their sensual play with food had led to many a night of passionate love making. Now though, as he felt the pressure of her lips and tongue, it was all he could do to keep from vomiting.

She lay passive, staring into his eyes. He'd learned during the week that if he talked to her, she wouldn't respond. Nothing about her showed any sort of recognition, any sort of humanity. It pained him to converse with her like that, so he stopped. He left her chained, unmoving on the bed, and went to wash off the glove.


"Sean, did you see this report? There are actual zombies roaming the streets of New York."

"Yeah, I saw it earlier on CNN. I thought they were just making up a funny news story or something."

"No, it seems legit." Meredith paused. "Do you suppose they wander around, arms outstretched, moaning for brains?"

He looked and saw her mouth fighting a smile, trying to stay serious, and that did it. He busted up laughing, and she joined him.


The power flickered. The generator wouldn't hold out much longer. He hadn't heard anything outside in quite some time, but that didn't mean it was safe. He'd taken pains to make sure nothing could squeeze though the boards on the windows and doors. That meant he couldn't see out, either. The Internet had been down for days, and his satellite TV picked up nothing but static.

He wouldn't worry so much about the power--the raw hamburger for Meredith was almost gone, and he'd been eating out of cans for a few days anyway--except for how stuffy the house was. He'd been running electric fans around the clock, and he could still barely tolerate it.

He sighed and looked at the bed. If her schedule held up, it'd be feeding time in an hour or so. What would he do when the meat was gone?


Sean carried her remains to the bed, tears so thick in his eyes he couldn't see straight. Before he lost it altogether, he needed to protect himself. The work would keep his mind clear. He washed Meredith's blood off the porch, hooked the generator up in the garage, and boarded up the house.

With the physical labor done, he came inside to mourn his dead wife, but stopped in his tracks at the bedroom door. Her flesh. It was growing back. It looked dead, rotted, but it was there. That could only mean she'd be moving soon.

He rushed into the garage and grabbed the rope of heavy chain that'd been there since they'd moved in. He had no idea what the previous owners had used it for, or why they hadn't taken it, but at this point, he didn't care. Good thing he'd never gotten around to tossing it like Meredith wanted.

He wrapped it tight around her and secured it to the bed frame with padlocks. There. If that didn't hold, he was a dead man. He didn't have anything better. There was nothing left to do now but wait for her to wake up.


Meredith sucked the last of the hamburger off of his glove with a hearty smack. As she did so, she gave him a lusty gaze. But no, that was impossible. This wasn't actually his wife. It was just a moving shell, a monster. Right?

He looked around the kitchen, but found little he could feed her. There was plenty of canned ravioli, but somehow he didn't think that would satisfy. And he couldn't let her starve because, god damn it, what if that really had been her soul staring up at him?

He sighed and slumped to the floor. He was sick and tired of this fucking isolation. But it didn't have to be like this. He could set her free. What better way to say "I love you" than giving her his flesh? It'd grow back. Hers did. And then they could be together forever.

Sean rushed into the bedroom before he could rethink this, and worked on unlocking the padlocks. Meredith shifted, as if she could sense his intentions. As he folded the chains off of her torso, allowing her to sit up for the first time as a dead woman, he giggled. Would they wander the streets, arms outstretched, moaning "hearts" instead of "brains?"

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Story #1: Shadow in the Mirror

I decided I'd revisit eight of my former Friday Flash stories for Halloween this year. Since it is for Halloween, I'm going to choose horror stories to republish - one a day until Halloween. If you've already read these, I hope you enjoy revisiting them; if you haven't seen 'em before, I hope you enjoy them. This first one comes from way back in October of 2009. It's called Shadow in the Mirror. Enjoy the read!

Shadow in the Mirror
by Eric J. Krause

Brianna ran her brush through her long blond hair, counting each stroke, a ritual she'd kept up since high school. She sometimes felt silly, but it really did make her hair that much silkier. Since she and Tim had found this old-fashioned vanity, complete with its fancy mirror, at a garage sale, brushing her hair at it felt right. She didn't know if it was real or faux antique, but she could picture an old-timey, high society lady from years past doing the same.

She set down her brush and did a double-take. Her reflection brushed its hair an extra time. They stared at each other, neither moving. Brianna let out her breath and giggled at her overactive imagination. She stood up to head for the kitchen when a shadow flashed in the mirror.

"What the hell?" She whirled around but didn't see anything. Tim was working late, so it couldn't have been him. Besides, she'd have heard the bedroom door open. It creaked even if moved an inch.

She turned back to the mirror and gasped. Not only was her reflection gone, but there were bright crimson splotches all over the surface. She hesitated for a second before runner her finger over one of the spots. It came back dry and didn't distort the crimson. It was on the other side of the mirror. Impossible. She ran her hand along the braided wood pattern of the frame and felt the back. Just wood-paneled backing, as she expected.

Before she turned her attention to the puzzle of the crimson splotches (blood?) and no reflection, the shadow again crawled across the mirror. It moved slow and seemed to focus on her. It glowed black, as if it not only blocked the light, but ate it as well.

In the mirror, the shadow lightened. Behind Brianna, in her room, in her world, the lights dimmed. The proportion of light lost from the lamps matched the loss of dark in the shadow's mirror world. Whatever it was that murdered her reflection (that's what it did, right?) was coming for her.

Brianna did the only thing she could think of: she picked up her hairbrush and smashed it into the glass. The vanity and mirror, being bolted together, rocked back, but the glass didn't have a mark. The light continued to seep out of her room.

She smacked the brush into the mirror again, this time leaving a dimple in the glass. The light flickered back to full brightness behind her. The shadow in the mirror world remained, but it looked halfway between solid and gone.

She swung again, this time breaking the impact zone into a spider-webbed crack. The shadow disappeared. Another smack brought a second large crack and got rid of the crimson goop. Her reflection flickered back--her true reflection from an ordinary mirror.

Brianna took a deep breath and stared at herself through the ruined glass. Whatever magic that had lived in the mirror was gone. Would it come back? She didn't know, but had no interest in keeping the vanity set to find out. She wasn't sure what she'd tell Tim. A lie would have a much clearer ring of truth than this mess.

She stood up and walked out of the room. All of that could wait. Right now she needed a stiff drink.


I hope you enjoyed the story. Check back tomorrow for another tale of horror. Happy Halloween!