Thursday, October 09, 2008

Halloween Flash #1

I love Halloween. Always have. I love spooky stuff. I love a haunted mood and a good gore fest both. So, in the spirit of the month, I plan to post a few horror flash pieces over the next few weeks as we approach the big night. Feel free to join in if you’re a mind too, and if you want to send me a notice that you’ve done so at Kainja at hotmail dot com (Put Halloween Horror in the subject line), or drop me a note in my comments section, then I’ll post the links to your stories here on my blog. Let’s call it Halloween Horror October. Below is my first burnt offering.

GOODNIGHT

You are lying awake and still in the darkness when you hear the noise, a soft shuffle, like rotted feet dragging on carpet.

Your heartbeat speeds. Your mouth dries. Who’s coming? Who’s coming!

The door to your bedroom opens, scritching back on hinges that need oiling. A shadow bulks in the faint glow from the hallway lamp. A scream rises in your throat, bulges your lips like vomit trying to escape.

But then you hear Momma say: “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bedbugs bite.”

“Yes, Momma,” you reply. And: “I love you, Momma.”

You think you see her smile. Certainly there is a flash of white in the dimness that could be her teeth.

The door closes and you lie awake and still. But no matter how still you lie, there is movement under the sheets.

You bite your lip. Your nose itches but you dare not lift a hand to scratch. You must: “sleep tight.”

Or else the mandible-clicking little monsters that Momma tucked in with you earlier will rip you to shreds.

--- the end ---
---------------

42 comments:

Heff said...

Nice. More Please.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Charles,

Great idea about Halloween month! Love this flash fiction! I'm going to see if I can come up with something for my favorite time of year.

Merisi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Merisi said...

Now, who dares to go to bed under these circumstances? ;-)

Miladysa said...

Scary stuff - got me!

Now I will keep thinking about that off and on all day. I also know that I will have to double check under the sheets when I tuck everyone up later :-D

writtenwyrdd said...

Now that's horrific! Good one, Charles. I might have to try my hand at horror flash. I don't think I have a mind for it, though.

Charles Gramlich said...

Heff, glad you enjoyed.

Michelle, cool. My favorite time as well

Merisi, does make one think twice.

Miladysa, things moving under the sheets are almost always scary. I could probably do a whole series on that.

Writtenwyrd, I bet you do. You should give it a try.

Avery DeBow said...

Oooh, lovely. You do flash so well. You planted the perfect seed and now my mind can't stop turning over the implications of the mother's loving actions. Terrific!!

I've a mind to re-post a flash piece (one of two I've ever penned) I wrote a few years ago. I put it up once, but it got lost in the dregs of the internet.

jason evans said...

Mom's are in with the monsters. It's a conspiracy.

Demon Hunter said...

Sweet. I like it. :-D I may have to partake of this, Charles. :-) If I can manage a moment.

David Cranmer said...

Excellent! "The mandible-clicking little monsters" is now etched in my mind. I wish I could write like this but since I can't, I will sit back and enjoy.

L.A. Mitchell said...

The rotting feet on the carpet hooked me, although trying to pin that noise in my mind makes my skin crawl. I'll see if I can come up with something, too.

laughingwolf said...

lol... that's fuunny! :O

nothing beats samhain in my mind, either! ;)

Sidney said...

Good one! Yeah, I love Halloween too. If Christine would let me, I would have an attic full of cauldrons, head stones, gargoyles and assorted black cats, witches's heads, and Jack-o-lanterns.

Oh, and I'd decorate really nicely for Halloween too.

Lana Gramlich said...

I love you, you sick freak. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

Avery, Mothers can be nasty eh? A repost would be fine. Just let me know and I'll link it. If you want.

Jason, Moms and monsters both start with M.

Demon Hunter, hope you can. Let me know.

David Cranmer, I bet you can if you tried. No pressure, of course.

L. A., Yeah, I get a pretty slurpious sound from that image. Whatever the heck slurpious means.

Laughingwolf, glad you liked. Yep,I enjoy me some Samhain.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sidney, I know, Halloween is the only holiday we decorate for.

Lana, and I'm all your sick freak. Hope you are feeling better today.

Greg Schwartz said...

nice story! i love the idea of halloween horror october. looking forward to more stories.

writtenwyrdd said...

Charles, have you ever read Northwest Smith stories? Just saw the collected stories on Amazon and wondered if you thought they were pulpy goodness or total drek.

ChrisEldin said...

Love it!!!

Yes, more please!!!

Steve Malley said...

Very cool!

(This isn't distracting you from more Talerian books, is it? Of course, if I had my way, you'd probably be chained to a desk with your word processor, surrounded by tiny models of the characters...)

laughingwolf said...

i'm gonna ponder on it, and likely scribble something... :O lol

Charles Gramlich said...

Greg, the idea sort of came to me while I was fiddling with that story and it seemed like it could be something cool that folks could do or not do as they chose.

Writtenwyrd, actually the Northwest Smith stories by C. L. Moore are some of my favorite tales. A few of them in that collection are rather slight but most are excellent, ripe with sensuality and otherworldliness. I strongly recommend them.

Chris Eldin, glad you liked. I will have another in a couple of days. Been working on it some.

Steve Malley, I just finished three big scholarly articles I was working on so before leaping back into a book length thing I need to do a little playing and these make good play.

Laughingwolf, Looking forward to it.

Scott said...

Charles, I loved it. Keep 'em coming!

Rick said...

Nice work, Charles! Keep it coming.

Christina said...

Creepy and Wonderful! You know horror! I loved the last line though, about the monsters getting tucked into bed too.

ivan said...

Gregor Samsa, the cockroach guy, is slouching around again.

Mom!

the walking man said...

Charles what an interesting take on that old saying...never would have occurred to me.

laughingwolf said...

draft the oneth is dun! :O lol

Charles Gramlich said...

Scott, the second one will be done for tomorrow. I call it "Spot."

Rick, glad you enjoyed.

Christina, thanks. I have an idea for expanding this story actually.

Ivan, yeah, he's probably there in the bed. ewww!

Mark, it sort of occurred to me in the writing of the piece.

Laughingwolf, cool.

Virginia Lady said...

Great piece! Brought back those early days of motherhood when my toddler would scare me to death in the middle of the night. It's not always the moms that are the scary ones.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I love the second person narrative; makes those mandibles come alive.

Travis said...

Oh fine. Now I have to check my covers before we get in bed tonight.

There was a scary idea that started spilling from my fingers not too long ago. I stopped because it was giving me the heebies. Perhaps I'll see if I can finish it for a flash fiction.

X. Dell said...

Um, if you have mandible-clicking little monsters jumping in bed with you, it's either time to call the Orkin man or move to a better neighborhood.

Horror isn't really my genre, if you can't tell.

Regarding your previous post, I certainly understand a publisher's desire to work within a certain limit. Problem is, like good people, good stories come in all sizes. Since the market isn't there, and the pay isn't good anyway, perhaps the Internet is the perfect place for novellas and longer short stories.

Monique said...

Reminds me of when I was a child and was convinced a monster was lurking under the bed. The light switch was at the other end of the room. What to do? The monster would surely grab me ones the light was out.

I learned to jump from the light switch onto the bed, escaping the monster, via a chair placed in the middle of the room.

Can't wait to red more

lol

Charles Gramlich said...

Virginia Lady, my 4 year old son once grabbed my ankles in the middle of the night as he tried to climb into bed. Talk about a scream. From me.

JR, yeah, it seemed right there. I though it worked.

Travis, you should. I'd love to see it.

X-dell, the internet is a good place for short stories, since folks seem to like to read bite-sized material there. There's still not a lot of money to be made, though.

Monique, I used to be convinced there were monsters in the attic at my house, which also had an opening at the landing of the stairs. I used to leap past that landing to avoid being caught.

laughingwolf said...

'flight..' is posted for anyone to peruse

thx

Anndi said...

I worry about you... knowing what rotted feet dragging on carpet sounds like.

CrazyCath said...

I do wonder sometimes if you might be a zombie in disguise. It isn't healthy you know, this obsession with rotting flesh, feet or otherwise!

Excellent short story. I had just sat back in my chair with relief only to find that the mother was very sick indeed...

Barbara Martin said...

Creepy things in the sheets...that's scary.

Charles Gramlich said...

Anndi, only in my imagination. Well, MOSTLY in my imagination.

Crazycath, sick mothers are a staple of horror fiction. But I had a great mother and I know many great ones.

Barbara, yes, creeps me out too.

Vesper said...

Hmmm... what a scary Momma... :-)