Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Flash #6

One thing I’ve realized about twist-ending stories is that there are usually several possible endings that can be produced by making only minor alterations in the text. And sometimes with no alterations. In fact, I’ve submitted stories with anywhere up to four different endings. My Halloween Flash this time is an example. Some of you read the story “Precious Cargo” when I entered it in the “Clarity of Night” contest. For that contest it had a bittersweet ending. As you can see, I’ve made a few minor changes at the end, and have changed the title to reflect the story’s new direction. WARNING: This ending is pretty damn nasty. Read at own risk.

Note: There are some more Halloween Horrors listed in the links below the story. Since I’m way behind in checking blogs, I may find more today and will add them here. If I miss anyone, please let me know. As always, older stories are linked in my recent posts.


ROADKILL

No moon.

A sky flecked like mica with stars.

I had my Harley redlined, the V-Twin burning between my legs. It’s always dangerous riding fast at night. But since the change I had nothing to lose, no one to care if I lost it.

Then I saw her, lying across the blacktop.

Dead, I thought.

But she moved when I swerved to avoid her.

I got the bike stopped, u-turned, winced as I saw… Her back was broken.

I hung the bike on it’s kickstand, the headlight painting her, refracting jewels from her liquid eyes. I rushed to her, knelt.

She opened her mouth but made no sound. How could she be alive? How could she breathe with a chest half crushed? What was she doing so far from town? What sick fate had sent a vehicle to rendezvous with her at this lonely spot? There were signs of burnt rubber. Whoever had hit her hadn’t even slowed down.

I tried to force, “It’s OK,” through my lips. The meaningless words wouldn’t come.

Then she looked past me toward highway’s edge. I turned, saw some shadowy movement. When I turned back she looked like she was sleeping but her chest no longer rose and fell.

My feet followed where her gaze had led, and I saw why she’d been crossing the road. Saw what she was returning to. Or running from.

Her puppies had been born dead. But in this new world they hadn’t stayed that way. They smelled me, and squirmed toward me through their mother’s afterbirth, their baby teeth stark and white and gnashing.

I backed away, then screamed as a sudden flashing agony lanced through my legs. I fell, rolled instinctively away from the pain. The mother hound’s mouth was flecked with foam and blood. My blood. Her eyes had been reborn as scarlet hells.

I tried to get up, found she’d torn out my Achilles tendons. Still screaming, I scrabbled away along the highway. The hound growled and hitched herself toward me, her paws slapping at the asphalt. Intestines unraveled behind her.

I almost laughed hysterically as I realized the mother’s broken spine would keep her from catching me.

Then I saw the puppies. On the road. They couldn’t walk either. But they were crawling faster than I was.

--- the end ---
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Halloween Horror Links:

Flash Fictions

Hell Plate by Lucas Pederson.

freaky flash IX, night, by Laughingwolf.

lobo, also by Laughingwolf.

Non-fiction

Barbara Martin has been running some posts on her blog about horror films. Today she has a piece on Dracula.

Travis has a great true story on his blog called Ghost. Well worth checking out.

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41 comments:

Lana Gramlich said...

I love you, you sick bastard.

Travis Erwin said...

Great story. You really took me there as I could imagine the scene perfectly.

Travis said...

GAH!

You guys and your flash horror fiction are pulling me in. These stories are so creepy, but I can't resist.

Dangit!

Lucas Pederson said...

Very nice. I think this story actually gave me a chill! Love your writing m'man. Always have.

Merisi said...

Oh dear, am I glad of not having to drive through the little tree-lined country roads of Tuscany anymore, escpecially at night, after reaading your story. ;-)

Barbara Martin said...

Perfect with the visualizations. This is what makes a story great with accolades to the author. Horror is meant to be just that. It's supposed to creep the reader out.

virtual voyage said...

It sure beats bobbing for apples, which is about all we used to do for Halloween over here....

Scott said...

Charles,

Very good! Gotta love undead stories.

laughingwolf said...

freaky this time round, charles :O

thx for the plug, as always... new one posted tonite...

Charles Gramlich said...

Lana, stop it, you'll make me blush.

Travis Erwin, glad it was good and visual for you.

Travis, I do love me some creepy.

Lucas, glad you enjoyed.

Merisi, oh I'm sure you would be safe. Pretty sure, anyway.

Barbara Martin, thanks. Good visuals are essential to me in having a good reading experience.

Julie, I could probably turn that into a horror story. Maybe I will.

Scott, yep, zombies rock.

Laughingwolf, glad you enjoyed, my friend.

Steve Malley said...

Zombie dogs. Zombie dogs.

Gotta love 'death by a thousand puppies'!

Will Kinshella said...

Hop, you poor bastard! Hop like the wind!!!

X. Dell said...

I remember this story. It's an oldie, but a goody.

writtenwyrdd said...

Best one yet, Charles!

Sidney said...

Glad to see another one! I've been swamped and haven't posted or commented, but I've been telling people to check out the Halloween flash stories.

Greg Schwartz said...

you're right about twist endings... this one's definitely a lot scarier.

Jo said...

Omigosh, I love it.

Stephen King, move over...

Charles Gramlich said...

Steve Malley, death by a thousand puppies. Sounds like a great title. There's definitely a little black humor in this one.

Will, LOL. I shot beer out my nose at that one. Hop like the wind.

x-dell, with a much nastier ending.

Writtenwyrd, thanks. Really gross is what it is.

Sidney, I'm going to do 2 more, the last one on the 30th to carry us through halloween.

Greg, and grosser. Which is good.

Jo, thanks. I'd sure like to make a bit of his money.

Erik Donald France said...

Visceral, man. Ouch!

Barrie said...

Yikes. Yikes. Yikes.

the walking man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
the walking man said...

Thanks Charles, now I will be leery of eating roadkill!

BernardL said...

Heck of a variation on your contest winner. :)

ShadowFalcon said...

this is random but about twist endings did you know its claimed that Agatha Christie didn't decide who the killer was until the last chapter and then she'd go back through the novel and plant clues...

btw freaky story...

Sarah Hina said...

Charles, from summer warm to Halloween chill. I will never stop to help a dog again! ;)

I loved your contest entry. But this is a wicked, effective revision. Love the title, too.

Charles Gramlich said...

Erik, good!

Barrie, yes, this one hurts, I think.

Mark, depends on how messed up it is.

Bernardl, and so you see that Lana is right. I'm a sick bastard.

Shadowfalcon, I didn't know that but I can imagine doing that myself.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sarah, thanks. I really have the urge often times to write very different stories. Sometimes I like sentimental, sometimes gory, sometimes straight reportage.

Demon Hunter said...

Awww, sick, I love it, Charles!!
:-D

ivan said...

Oh, that is scary.

Backdrop of evil and danger, no matter what you do.

Wow.

Heff said...

Man, you should write books or somethin'.

David Cranmer said...

The Best one yet! I wanted more.

Charles Gramlich said...

Demon hunter, glad you thought it was sick. perfect.

Ivan, glad you enjoyed.

Heff, as long as it doesn't interfere with beer drinking I might give it a try.

David Cranmer, thanks David. I appreciate the kind words. So glad you are enjoying them.

david mcmahon said...

You would have so enjoyed the lectures of one of my teachers, a wise Jesuit called Fr Victor Tucker.

He taught us so much about construction of stories - and I still use those principles in my novels.

Fr Tucker was one of the many teachers I thanked in the acknowledgement section of my first novel.

laughingwolf said...

XI is up :O lol

Charles Gramlich said...

David, I'm always interested in folks' take on writing. I've learned a lot of things from unusual places.

Laughingwolf, cool, I'll link it to my current post and then add it to the next one as well.

Ello said...

oh gosh! this reminded me at first of that other, more lovely story you had at Jason's contest. I think you won with that one. But then this story went horribly wrong! How creepy and unexpected! I crown you Flash Fiction Horror King!

Charles Gramlich said...

Ello, this actually had the exact same beginning as that other story. I just altered the ending.

Vesper said...

Ah, that's more like it! I LOVE it!

Thanks for offering to put a link to my story on your blog. I'm very honoured. :-)

Avery DeBow said...

"And in other news, recent adoptions of puppies at local shelters have dropped significantly..."

Charles Gramlich said...

Vesper, it's linked on my post for today.

Avery, next I take on kittens.

Miladysa said...

LOL @ Lana

"No moon.

A sky flecked like mica with stars."

LOVED that opening :D