The Coffin Hop is in full swing. If you like—love, even—horror, and you haven’t visited this link what are you waiting for? Horror galore is awaiting you. From horror theme songs, to trivia, to flash fiction to full on short stories to short little teasers like the one you are about to read, to contests, contests, contests. Did I say contests? I did. Oh, okay. Well, there are contests, just in case you haven’t figured it out by now.
This is your chance to find out about some authors you may not have heard of. I’ve found a handful who have posted stories at their blogs—and no, they are not trunk stories either—and have held my attention in their scaly claws, refusing to let go until the final word had been read. I’m not ADD or anything, but I do have a short attention span, so stories that hold my attention are good pieces. One in particular is Six Millimeters by Julianne Snow. It’s short, not so sweet and the imagery is hinted at while making your imagination work. Great writing. Great writing indeed.
Again, I want to tease you all—and you know you like it—with a portion of another story in Southern Bones. This is from The Burning Children.
In the dream he heard the devil and the devil was screaming. It always ended the same, with Carney on the ground and his body on fire.
And the devil screaming.
But there was more to it than that. He always woke at that point, but he couldn’t figure out how he got on the ground and how on earth was he set on fire?
Carney lay in bed, sweat spilling down the sides of his face and matting his hair, soaking his armpits and underwear. His breaths came in raspy gasps and his heart beat too fast. He tried to hold onto the dream, to remember a little more of the fuzziness as it faded, the image of him on fire and the devil screaming, always screaming.
He sat up, rubbed his eyes, then pulled his knees to his chest.
What was it about that red-faced monster that made him scream so much? How did he even know it was the devil? Carney never saw him, only heard the high-pitched wailing.
Carney slung the wet sheet off and slid his feet to the floor. A chill crept up his legs and sent a shiver along his tailbone. He tried to shake it off, but it caressed his spine with its icy fingers. He made his way across the bedroom, opened the door and froze. The creak of the door on its hinges sounded familiar, like screaming, or a baby crying.
He looked around. The darkened room was full of shapes and half-shapes, things the shadows clung to in the night to hide the bogeyman and his minions. Carney flipped the switch and the lights flooded the room, pushing the shadows away and showing him absolutely nothing. Everything was in its place. The bed and end table, the dresser across the room, the desk with his computer on it, the picture on the desk of…
And the screaming came full throttle.
Carney hurried down the hall, stubbed his toe on the baseboard as he ran into the room where Michael had slept during his brief life.
He didn’t need the ceiling light to show him the crib to his left, the playpen to the right, the dresser straight ahead or the ducks, hand-painted by Carney himself, on the walls. He didn’t need to see the stuffed toys on the floor or the mobile of brilliantly colored animals floating above where Michael’s head should have been.
Standing in the door, his heart in his throat, he remembered the day so long ago when Michael, his only child, died. How long ago, he couldn’t quite recall, but it was certainly before Mae left his ‘crazy behind’. Carney had been playing with him, and the boy was laughing, his toothless mouth all grins and his eyes dancing as Carney pretended to be a motorcycle, using Michael’s hands as the handlebars and accelerator. He sat on the bed with the boy in his lap. They laughed and Carney made bike motor sounds and they bumped and bumped and bumped, and then there was screaming and Carney didn’t understand.
Michael laughed. That’s what he did. Carney was certain of it then, but not so certain now as he stood in his baby’s room replaying the events over and over in his mind.
He closed his eyes. “Go away. Go away. Go away.”
And the screaming stopped.
Carney shut the door and stumbled back to the bedroom. He stopped in the entryway and stared at his bed. How could he sleep there? How could he even consider staying in that house after…
Now that you’ve been teased, you know what to do. Leave a comment, then hop on over to someone else’s blog. If you aren’t sure where to find the links, scroll back up to the top and click on the link provided.
Have a great day and come back tomorrow. At some point over the weekend a full story will go up—no teasers for that one.
Until we meet again, my friends…