Read a Lot

cemetery, writing horror
(c) Barbara W. Beacham

The cemetery spread along the area known as Devils Abode. It had been a burial ground for as long as man had settled in these parts, but only recently had they begun burying people there again.”

‘How is it?’

Rebecca put down the manuscript. Julie had negotiated an excellent deal for the world rights of their surprise bestseller earlier and Rebecca didn’t want to put a damper to her boss’s triumphant mood.

‘Rubbish, isn’t it? I know it’s rubbish, Bec.’

‘Dry, droning, derivative drivel. Has he never heard of Pet Sematary?’

‘He hasn’t. He doesn’t read. I told him he must read. Does he listen to his literary agent sister?’

***

Check out what everybody else is writing for MFtS this week.

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With Friends Like This

First thought: pink meringue explosion. Second thought: Jordan wore a frock more tasteful when she married Whatshisface. Third thought: I cannot go out in this monstrosity, it’ll end my career.

‘Put it on. Or else.’

‘Or else what?’

Why would Tasha want me to be seen in this dress-shaped catastrophe?

‘Or else you call Marc to tell him the wedding’s off.’

Take that, Little Ms Hotshot Designer, Tasha smirks at me.

She thinks she’s got me. I tear the frills off the eyesore and wear it inside out.

Reputation rescued.

Tasha’s eyes flare up. I’ve ruined her night.

Added bonus.

Flighty

Filled with a happiness I haven’t experienced since chasing birds as a boy, I stand in the coffee shop queue. I can’t stop glancing her way in case she disappears again. From this distance, it seems no time has passed – she’s even wearing, as a headscarf, the turquoise shawl I bought her once. From across the table, she’s almost translucent.

’So, how’ve you been?’

‘Death comes to everything, sooner or later,’ she says. ‘To me, it’s coming sooner. I wanted to see you before I…’

They are so alike, happiness and birds – any sign of trouble and they take flight.

Tiger’s Day Out

‘Animals shouldn’t go in the playground,’ my human says, ‘but it’s empty, nobody’ll tell us off.’

First, we go on the swings. Swinging’s fun.

Then it’s climbing time. My human likes the climbing frame, I prefer the tree – feels good to get my claws into the bark.

I don’t like the seesaw, and the merry-go-round makes me growl with fear. My favourite is the slide – looks scary from the top, sliding down makes me go whee!

But another human arrives. Mine hides me. It turns out she’s also a rule-breaker, she brought a bear. New friends.

Today’s a good day.

(Thank you for the inspiration to Helen’s Beasties and the kiddo: ‘Dogs can’t come to the playground, but my tiger’s okay.’)

Trip Hazard

‘Plotting to kill me?’

He asks in jest and I chuckle, as he expects me to. I pick up the slipping rug that almost sent him toppling down those treacherous stairs.

‘I put it there because…,’ but he dismissed my explanation with a ‘yes, dear’ and asks when lunch will be ready. I inspect the uneven floorboards, looking for the loose one. No matter where I push, they won’t stay level. Someone will trip over them.

‘Lunch, dear? I am quite hungry, you know.’

Will I get away with it if he stumbles, falls and his neck takes a twist?

Musings of a Prankster

Josh is annoyed with his friends. They didn’t bother with his tent but took his hiking boots. He’s wearing flip-flops – walking through the wet forest to the road in them won’t be fun, he imagines.

Josh stood on the bridge the entire time, filming the increasing panic. If one of them had looked up, they would now be making dinner together, laughing about his prank. Someone would tell Josh off for it… Business as usual.

Josh wonders if they’d abandon Heather like this, or Mikey.

Josh wonders if he’s made an unnerving discovery.

Josh wonders if the joke’s on him.

***

Thank you, Izzy, for inspiring Josh’s unexpected survival.

The (short-lived) Hiking in the Woods Project

Thunderstorm over, we crawl out of our tents. Everyone but Josh.

hiking boots, forest, horror story
(c) Dawn M. Miller

‘Hey, aren’t those Josh’s hiking boots?’ one of us whispers. There they are, abandoned in the middle of the road.

We gather around his tent, calling for him to show himself. No reaction.

‘We have to check if he’s okay.’

Tent’s empty.

‘Where could he have gone? During a thunderstorm, without his boots?’

The questions echo through the woods. We shudder.

‘Do you see blood? I think I see blood.’

We see blood.

‘Pack up, everyone. Trip’s over.’

It’s all gone a bit too Blair Witch for our liking.

***

What a mysterious prompt for FFfAW this week – I’m hoping for many spooky stories.

Trademark Infringement

little Luigi
(c) Barbara W. Beacham

I’ve gone a bit silly for this week’s MFtS – it probably says a lot that I couldn’t move past plumber once I read Luigi… Hope you enjoy:

The family had no idea that little Luigi would grow up to be… 

A plumber entertaining children’s parties. He hadn’t planned it, but kids loved his Super Mario Bros. rip-off uniform. Turned out having a plumber around with some kids throwing all sorts in the toilet helped, too. To him, the kids listened.

Luigi was glad none of his family knew. They’d have disapproved of the clichéd Italian accent. Hadn’t they worked hard to move beyond the stereotypes?

His career came to an abrupt end when Nintendo sent a cease and desist – no doubt alerted by one mother Luigi had turned down when she’d suggested he ‘take a look at her plumbing’.

(You’ll find more MFtS stories here.)

See What I Did There?

‘Jeez, Louise, chill. It’s just a bit of banter, nothing serious.’

Easy for Jake to say. Mind, he has to back Pete, they’ve known each other forever.

And when Pete and I started going out, Jake became my friend, too.

‘Lou, let’s have a dance.’ Jake takes my hand.

‘Okay.’ I let him pull me to the dance floor.

Underworld’s Born Slippy comes on – time for our special silly moves.

Sod Pete and his flirting, I’m going to have fun.

You know, some nights I wonder if I picked the wrong friend. Tonight, I wonder if Jake thinks so, too.

(Seriously, did you? Answers in the comments, please.)

U-Turn Down Memory Lane

A couple of announcements first: a story I wrote a while ago went up on The Drabble yesterday (if you’ve read my stories for a while, you may remember it), and I’ve picked six stories I think you should read this weekend. Right, on with the story.

U-Turn Down Memory Lane 

He catches a glimpse of lemon yellow tail-fins and chrome and thinks of Grandad.

Most of his early memories have a mythical quality – they’ve always been there but he’s never quite certain any of it happened. That time Grandad took him out in his car, though, he remembers every detail of it.

‘I like your finny car.’

‘You have it when I die, then.’

Grandad died one day before his fifth birthday. He was sent to the children’s home and never saw his Caddy again.

How many lemon yellow Cadillacs can there be in this country?

He makes a U-turn.

(written for Flash Frenzy, round 74)