Crazy Tony by Terry Gelormino Silver – Free Short Story For Your Creepy Pleasure

CRAZY TONY

Although the sky was overcast with the threat of rain, the dull morning light coming in the high, bare window woke ten-year old Tony out of paralyzing dreams of blood, screams, and being chased. He lay there for a few minutes listening to the brush strokes of branches against the side of the building and breathed in the sour smells and dusty atmosphere of his “home,” an old storage building which one of his mother’s boyfriends had offered for their use.

Tony felt around his body to be sure his surroundings were real, patting the coarse texture of his mattress and reaching out tentative fingers to touch the rough, splintered floor boards. Finally reassured that he was safe, he stared up the cobwebs streaming down from the ceiling,, happy with their familiarity.

Any indications that Tony might be bothered by his nightly terrors or the stresses of his daily life weren’t obvious. He didn’t cry easily or have the nervous tics some children under stress tended to display–unless you counted the frequent venting of his odd laugh a tic of sorts.

Tony had the feeling that he had been laughing as he woke up and wondered about it, but finally decided he hadn’t since his mother hadn’t yelled her usual “Shut up, you idiot.” If she had yelled anything, he hadn’t heard her. In fact he hadn’t heard her come in during the night or early hours of the morning like he usually did when she came stumbling in, bumping into the crates and few pieces of furniture that occupied a small area of the cavernous, unpainted, weather-beaten building that was their home.

Many nights Tony would hear his mother laughing uproariously to herself. Other nights he would be jarred awake by a slamming door and her stormy passage from one end of the building to the other–muttering angrily the whole way. He’d cower fearfully as he felt the vibrations of her angry feet through his thin mattress that was only an inch or two off the floor.

Occasionally, he’d hear the high, keening found of her sorrow as she drank and brooded over the failures and rejections of her life. Her weeping made him want to comfort her, but he had learned better. When he was much younger, he would have instinctively run to her and beg her not to cry. Too soon he learned that what often started out as grateful affection from his mother, as he told her how much he loved her, would turn into anger against him and blame that he had caused her hard life.

Not having heard his mother come in, he was still young enough to hope that she had kept her promise to give up drinking, a promise she’d made the night she’d gotten angry and thrown him against the wall–breaking his arm. That time even she was horrified at what her anger had done.

“I’m sorry, baby,” she sobbed. “I wouldn’t hurt you for the world.” She had cried and petted him all the way to the doctor as she explained why he had to tell the doctor he fell out of a tree; otherwise he’d be taken away from her and placed in a foster home. Her stories about monstrous foster parents and the starvation and tortures taking place in their homes terrified him and he was more than willing to lie to avoid being put in a foster home.

Although curious as to why he hadn’t heard his mother come in, past experience made Tony less than eager to learn the truth about her condition; so he decided to just get ready for school. Wrapping his old crib blanket around his shoulders, he shoved his bare feet into his worn sneakers, pushed aside the sheet that curtained off his sleeping area, then tip-toed outside, his shoelaces flapping softly.

Although he usually went into the wooded area for his toilet functions, early in the morning he often just let go into the dirt behind the old abandoned factory. The old roller bearing factory stood like a fortress in front of their building, hiding it from the view of people in passing cars who had no idea that someone actually lived back there so close to the town dump.

After relieving himself, Tony felt a few rain drops and hurriedly took his best-looking pair of jeans from the clothes line he’d strung along the side of the building. He examined the jeans and sighed. They still looked stained and dirty even though he had hosed them good and scrubbed as hard as he could with the splinter of soap he’d found among his mother’s things.

It was a tough choice–to wash the jeans or himself. It was the only soap he could find. When his mother came back from a shopping trip and he’d ask if she’d gotten soap, she’d say she ran out of money or blandly tell him she’d forgotten. Sometimes he tried to catch her when she still had money in hopes he could buy it himself, but that merely made her angry.

“If you want luxuries,” she’d say, “and think you’re so high-class, why’nt you get a job?” He was too young to get a work permit and she knew it. When Tony did get hold of any money, he used it on necessities like soap, toothpaste and toilet paper, although he would have liked it spend it on maybe a toy or some candy.

Occasionally one of his mother’s boyfriends would give him a few coins and once he made a few dollars when a car broke down in front of the ball bearing factory. He helped the driver push the stalled vehicle to the side of the road, got him some water for the car, and ran to the nearest store for help since he and his mother had no telephone.

It had been a long while since Tony had gotten any money. He hated looking so dirty all the time and knew he must smell pretty bad the way other people, especially kids, pulled away and held their noses when he came near.

Tony vaguely remembered that he and his mother hadn’t always lived this way and wondered why they were always moving. He also wondered if his mother ever washed herself since they always seemed to be out of soap. Sometimes she drenched herself in perfume from Woolworth’s, which gave her a pungent scent when the smell of the perfume blended with her profuse sweat. At times Tony figured she washed at one of her boyfriend’s houses since she’d often return looking cleaner and smelling a lot fresher.

* * *

Tony turned toward the open door and listened anxiously. His mother wasn’t up yet and it probably was just as well since she was always in a bad mood if she didn’t get as much sleep as she wanted. Maybe he’d just hurry to school without waking her.

Tony put on his jeans and looked for his one good shirt which seemed to have disappeared. He wondered if he had misplaced it or if maybe, just maybe, his mother had decided to iron it. When he heard the guttural snoring coming from the front of the building, the momentary brightening of his mood was quickly replaced by the surer knowledge that he was plain stupid to be thinking along such lines.

As he headed toward the area that was more or less their living room when it wasn’t his mother’s bedroom, a strong smell of whiskey overwhelmed him and he shrank back, wrinkling his nose, before cautiously approaching his mother. He wished it wasn’t necessary to wake her but he had to have a shirt and had looked everywhere without success.

“Ma,” he called to the still sleeping woman sprawled out on the couch the way she had landed in the dark hours of the morning.

“Do you know where my shirt is? I have to get ready for school.”

“Huh? Whadda ya want?”

“My shirt, Ma. What did you do with it?”

“Geez, can’t you do anything for yourself?” She grabbed onto the heavy crate which they used for a coffee table with one hand and pushed against the floor with the other, trying to get up. She gave up and sank back into the couch which bumped against the wall, and closed her eyes against the annoyance in front of her.

Fearing his mother’s wrath, Tony hesitated for a moment and then leaned over her and gently pulled at her sleeve. When she failed to respond, he pulled more forcefully and then finally put his hand on her shoulder and shook her.

‘”I’m sorry, Ma, but I need my shirt for school.”

“You’re a damn pain in the ass,” his mother whispered through the haze of sleep. “Help me up.”

Although only 10, Tony was strong for his age and by bending his knees and stiffening his muscles he was able to pull his 300-pound mother into a sitting position and then helped her rise onto her unwilling feet.

Pushing her lank, blond hair out of her eyes, Lizzie Swink stared at her dark-eyed son reproachfully. He knew what she was thinking; she’d told him often enough. The words went around and around in his head like a song he couldn’t shake loose. You look just like your old man. That old bastard knocked me up and took off. Now I’m stuck with you.

Tony couldn’t help feeling resentful. She acted as though it was his fault his father didn’t marry her and was always saying if she hadn’t been such a good-hearted, religious woman, he’d have been put in an orphanage or foster home.

Sometimes he felt like punching his mother. He almost had the time she found his collection of shiny stones and tossed them out like they were just a pile of junk. The stones had been his prized possession, his only pleasure actually–sometimes serving as his toys, occasionally as worry beads while he waited in the dark night for his mother to come home. He mostly just liked to sit and stare at them, admiring their beauty as the sun lighted up their surfaces and brought out the different colors. Tony had retrieved the stones, hid them carefully and only brought them out to rub between his hands when he knew his mother wouldn’t be home for a long time.

I’m gonna leave her too, he often thought after his mother had been more abusive than usual. Then remembering a loving mother from long ago, Tony would feel guilty for a short while. He wondered, however, if the loving mother he thought he remembered was the same angry one he lived with or a kind and gentle mother from a book he’d read. Maybe it was just a fantasy he’d created in an effort to comfort himself when he was a small boy.

Suddenly realizing he’d been standing there just staring at his mother with what she called his dummy look, he blinked rapidly and felt his throat tighten as her eyes hardened into blue stones.

“Where’s my shirt, Ma?” Tony said in his softest, most placating voice, fearing it was going to be another one of those days when anything he said would hit her the wrong way.

“You got no right taking that tone with me,” she said angrily. “You’re always wanting something. I want this, I want that. It’s endless.” She drew back her hand and slapped him hard across the face. “You watch how you talk to me, you hear?”

“Why’d you hit me, Ma? I was only asking about my shirt. I can’t go to school with just a torn tee shirt. The kids already make fun of the way I dress and smell.”

Lizzie looked hopefully into the bottle sitting on the crate but it was empty. Sighing heavily, she swiveled slowly around and let her eyes search the various clusters and piles for a sign of anything resembling a boy’s shirt. Finally, she gave up and lumbered back to the couch to finish her sleep. Lizzie lifted up the faded and snagged afghan lying there and saw that she had been sleeping on Tony’s shirt.

“Here’s your damn shirt,” she muttered, throwing it across the room toward him. She fell back and closed her eyes, pulling the afghan she’d found along a roadside up to her chin.

The shirt was a dingy, wrinkled-up ball. Tony tried to smooth it while carrying it back to the curtained off area where he slept and washed up. After bringing in a pail of cold water from the yard, he washed up as best he could without soap, dried his hands on a strip of sheeting hanging from a nail, and searched for something to blow his nose on. Although he often just wiped his nose on his hand or shirt, today he wanted to look especially nice–for Elizabeth. Lacking either a handkerchief or a piece of tissue, he tore off a piece of sheeting and used that, stuffing it into his pocket for later use. His nose always seemed to be running and he sure didn’t want it running today when he’d finally get the nerve to talk with the prettiest girl in the fifth grade.

It was also important that his teeth look clean and his breath smell good when he got up close enough to tell Elizabeth he liked her. Not having any toothpaste, he tore off another piece of sheeting, dampened it and rubbed it hard against his teeth, then rinsed his mouth with cold water. He hoped his breath was okay. Maybe if he found some of that peppery weed before he got to school and chewed on it for a few minutes, it would definitely make his breath smell better.

Tony tried to ignore the pressure in his gut, hating to always use the wooded area in the back when he had to go, like some animal, he thought. If he hurried, he could use the school bathroom before class. That was about the only reason he liked to go to school. The other kids disliked him just about as much as his mother did and like the kids at earlier schools. Tony guessed it would always be that way, people hating him, his stained and shapeless clothing, ugly face and crooked teeth. He brushed his chopped-off hair with his fingers, grabbed his books and put them under his windbreaker for protection against the rain, and started running the half mile to school. Although he sidestepped the puddles, the moisture quickly seeped through the worn places at the bottom of his sneakers.

Today’s the day, Tony thought as he ran. He was finally going to talk to Elizabeth. What would he say? What would she say? Would he look good enough? Up to now, he had been content only to look at her or to walk closely behind her–as close as he dared.

But today . . . Today! The possible scenarios played themselves out in his imagination to the muted rumblings of his odd laughter, now an habitual accompaniment to his racing thoughts. At first, Tony imagined only happy conclusions to the day’s events, but it wasn’t long before thoughts of all that had gone wrong in his life came to the fore. Happiness always seemed just out of his reach. He began running faster as he worried and his laughter grew louder and louder until it was deep in his throat and chest the way that guy Gildersleeve sounded on the cassette tape of old radio shows that Mike Welch’s mother had.

Tony had first heard that laugh outside an open window of the Welch’s house and sometimes he could listen to a whole tape before Mike’s parents noticed and chased him away. Tony didn’t know why he had liked and adopted Gildersleeve’s laugh as his own, or why he spontaneously laughed that way when he was worried or tense Sometimes he was unaware he was laughing until someone mentioned it–particularly the kids at school. Some of them called him Crazy Tony because of it.

Tony reached the school yard a few minutes before the bell sounded. He ignored the catcalls and whistles coming from the crowd of boys over by the school fence.

“Hey, stinky Swinky!”

“Look what the cat dragged in.”

Then from the group of girls where Elizabeth was standing, he heard “Tony, Tony, smells like a pony,” and the sound of high-pitched giggling.

He glanced furtively toward the girls to see if Elizabeth was joining in the laughter, but she was only looking with disgust at his wrinkled shirt and jeans with the grease stains he hadn’t been able to wash out.

Elizabeth! It’s Ma’s name too, Tony thought, although he couldn’t imagine his mother being called anything but Lizzie. Elizabeth was a name for someone soft and clean and beautiful. He smiled shyly with open admiration toward the brown-eyed girl with chestnut-colored hair tumbling around her shoulders. Elizabeth lifted her chin and turned away.

“I can’t understand why that horrible dirty boy doesn’t leave me alone,” she complained to the group of girls rushing with her into the building as the bell sounded. She cringed as she heard the sound of hurried steps behind her and knew with certainty it was Crazy Tony trying to get close behind her, like always.

Tony caught up to her and she turned around to face him, angry that he dared to direct his attention toward her.

“Just listen, Elizabeth,” he whispered, not realizing that the sibilant sounds had made him spit on her until she glared at him and wiped her cheek.

“You spit on me, you stupid boy,” she hissed, and your breath smells. Don’t you ever brush your teeth?”

Stung by her venomous tone, Tony began to laugh and shifted uncertainly from one foot to the other. Then to his embarrassment, because he had delayed so long in getting to a bathroom, he passed gas loud enough for Elizabeth to hear. He watched her lip curl in scorn and felt the blood rush to his head.

“God, you’re such a pig,” she said, turning away in disgust while he rushed to the bathroom. Late or not, he had to go.

When Tony entered the classroom and headed for his seat, another boy who also had his eye on Elizabeth saw a good opportunity to win her approval. He put out his leg as Tony passed, tripping him and knocking the books out of his hands. The other kids started snickering and, out of the corner of his eyes, Tony looked toward where Elizabeth was sitting and saw her smile.

Tony took his seat in the back of the room where the teacher had assigned him because of his smell. The teacher tapped with her ruler for silence and glared at him for being late and disrupting the class.

As the kids started settling down, Tony found the old Gildersleeve laugh starting to bubble up from his throat and quickly turned it into a cough.

Because he’d had no friends and spent so much time alone, Tony had read many books–some he’d found discarded in the dump and some he’d brought home from the school library. In many ways, his general knowledge was greater than most of the kids in his class but he was always told to shut up when he wanted to participate in the after-school conversations.

Listening to the other kids’ naïve questions and replies as they interacted with the teacher stirred up the laughter he’d been trying to suppress all day. Without warning, the laughter surged up from deep in his chest to his throat and burst forth into a loud explosion. The class looked at each other and then at the teacher to see what if anything she was going to do about the freak in the back of the room.

Tony put his head on his desk, laughing and laughing until the tears rolled down his cheeks. The teacher commanded him to stop the racket and then pointedly ignored him the rest of the day as did most of the other kids, except for an occasional snicker or whisper aimed in his direction.

As soon as class was over, Tony grabbed his stuff and ran out into the rain, welcoming the downpour on his head and face, grateful that its stream was hiding any evidence that part of the moisture was coming from his eyes.

That evening Tony felt a strong need to lay his collection of beautiful stones beside him on the mattress. He sat there quietly and listened as the rain clattered on the tin roof of the building, then stared at the stones as he ate the baloney sandwich his mother had left for his supper. He waited for the old familiar warmth as the joy of owning such beauty overcame him. But no matter how long he stared and stared, all he could see were plain old stones. Tony gathered them up into an old sock and stretched out on the mattress to sleep, knowing he would probably be warned by his mother’s racket when she came home. He would have time to hide them in case she decided to look in on him.

About 3:00 a.m., Tony heard his mother slam the door and shuffle her way to the couch. He reached for the stones to be sure he still had them. When he no longer heard her stirring and knew that she had fallen into a deep, drunken sleep, he tip-toed over to the couch to check. She was completely out. He sat for awhile, just looking down at her, wondering why everything had gone so wrong. He thoughtfully lifted the sock of stones and hit his mother on the head, over and over again. This time he didn’t laugh.

***

Mrs. Terry Gelormino Silver was born in Bellaire, Ohio to Italian immigrant parents and spent my entire childhood in three orphanages: two Catholic ones run by a stern order of nuns in Columbus, Ohio:  St. Ann’s Infant Asylum and St. Vincent’s Orphanage; and in Xenia, Ohio at the Ohio Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphans’ Home where I earned my high school diploma.  I moved to New York City’s Greenwich Village in 1944 where I met my husband.  I lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn for approximately 19 years before returning to Ohio.  I worked for the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio for approximately 25 years, and am now retired and living in Georgia.  I will be 87 in February.

Crazy Tony is part of a five-story collection entitled “God Don’t Take Crap from Nobody and other stories.”
Contact Terry at tgsilver@att.net

Dangerous Times, Desperate Measures by Monica La Porta – Free Creepy Short Story

Dangerous Times,
Desperate Measures
by Monica La Porta

Yesterday
everything was perfect.

Today
I woke up to an outlandish scenario. There are no words to
describe what I saw when I opened my eyes. I am still shaking at the vivid
memory…

Something
warm, and yellow-orangey in color viciously touched my skin. I can barely talk
about it; you will forgive me if I skip to a few hours later, when I had to
leave the house to drive my kid to school. I couldn’t let him, my precious
little boy, take the school bus. What if the driver went crazy? On the road, we
witnessed the first signs that the illness had already touched several minds.
People were shielding their eyes, and changing lanes without even noticing it.
Driving back was even more dangerous. I barely made it home.

Now,
my kids and I are barricaded in the basement, safely surrounded by the familiar
humid darkness. Two hours ago, I last heard from my husband. He was stuck in
his office, watching horrified as hordes of people wandered at street level. He
told me about the vacant eyes, and the addled expressions…

My
daughter has found an old battered radio. A confused voice is giving
suggestions on what to do until this inexplicable phenomenon lasts. I shiver.
The voice says that it will continue until Sunday. I cry.

From outside I can hear little kids, lost
to the world, enslaved by this madness the voice on the radio called… the Sun.

***

Monica La Porta is an Italian who landed in Seattle, eleven years ago. She writes, paints, and tries her best to take good care of her family and house. On the house front she is losing the battle, but she has a good excuse: her first novel is coming out of the drawer. Visit her blog.

The Bike by Tim Kizer – Quick and Creepy Free Fiction!

The Bike

(from the under a 1,000 word story collection)

1.

“You’ve got a cool bicycle there,” said Norman.

“Yes, it is a nice bike.” Jesse propped his Schwinn against the wall and the men entered the house.

“Riding away from a heart attack?” Norman smiled. “This time I’m going to win.”

“Keep dreaming.”

They walked into the living room, where Sheila, Norman’s wife, was watching TV. Sheila and Jesse greeted each other.

The men sat at the table, ready to have another session of Texas hold ’em. In a minute, they were joined by Jack, Norm’s brother.

“Where’s Paul?” asked Jesse.

“Our son’s having a good time with a new girlfriend,” answered Sheila.

2.

“What are you doing?” asked Norman. “Are you about to fall asleep?”

“You shouldn’t have drunk so much,” remarked Jack.

Jesse yawned. He really felt an irresistible urge to go to bed. But he did not think he had drunk too much.

“I know–he just doesn’t want me to win my money back,” growled Norman.

“Guys, I guess I’m out.” Jesse put his cards on the table and tried to get up but unsuccessfully.

“Jack will take you home in his truck,” said Norman. “And don’t forget the bike.”

Jesse yawned again, closed his eyes, and fell into the abyss of sleep a moment later.

3.

He was woken up by the doorbell ringing. He got up, went barefoot to the entry hall, opened the door, and was surprised to see a cop.

“Your name is Jesse Greenburg?” asked the cop.

“Yes, that’s correct.” Jesse cracked a weak smile.

“Can you come to the police station with us?”

“What happened?”

“They just want to ask you a few questions.”

4.

At the police station, they took his fingerprints, as if he were some serial killer. Then Jesse met a somber-looking man in a gray suit.

“I am Detective John Lewis,” said the man. “I am going to conduct an interview. I suggest that you call a lawyer.”

They brought him to the interrogation room after he told Lewis that he would call the lawyer when he felt the need to do so. When Jesse and the detective took seats at the table, Jesse noticed a bicycle parked against the wall, which looked almost exactly like his.

“Is this your bicycle?” Lewis pointed at the bike.

“No, it’s not. My bike is at my house.”

“Are you sure?”

“Of course I am. I’ve been riding mine for five years now.”

“What if I told you that there’s your name on this bicycle?”

“Where?”

“On the seat.”

Jesse frowned. He had in fact had his name branded on the side of the seat of his bicycle.

“Suppose you did. So what?”

“What if I told you that this bicycle was used to commit a robbery?”

“I told you it’s not my bicycle.”

“Then why is it covered with your fingerprints?”

Jesse felt a chill in the pit of his stomach.

“What robbery?” he asked. He could hardly keep his voice from shaking.

“Last night, at nine pm, a man on a bicycle snatched a purse out of a woman’s hands on Lincoln Avenue. There were five hundred dollars in cash and a pearl necklace in the purse.”

“And you think it was me?”

“That’s right. You fit the description.”

“I assure you it was not me.”

Lewis shoved a piece of paper in Jesse’s face.

“Here’s a warrant to search your house,” he said. “And we’re going to search it right now.”

5.

They found the money and necklace. They were stashed in the garbage basket in Jesse’s kitchen, packed in a plastic bag. They put the evidence in the center of the table in the living room so he could see it in all its glory.

“Do this money and the necklace belong to you?” asked Lewis.

“No, I’ve never seen them before.”

“Can you explain how they got in your house?”

“I guess somebody planted them there.”

“Planted? Do you think it sounds plausible? By the way, can I see your bicycle?”

“I don’t see it in my house. Somebody has stolen it.”

Yes, his bike was gone. Or it was hidden very well.

“Someone has stolen your bicycle? What for?”

Don’t forget the bike, said Norman.

Jesse’s heart started throbbing. Damn, all this stress had made him completely forget yesterday’s poker night.

“Listen. I couldn’t have robbed that woman because last night at nine pm I was at my neighbor’s place, playing Texas hold ‘em.”

“What’s his name?”

“Norman Cooper. We played poker till midnight. Talk to him.”

6.

Jesse shifted a triumphant look from Detective Lewis to Norman, then back to the detective. Now this misunderstanding would finally get resolved.

“Where were you last night at nine o’clock?” Lewis opened his notepad.

“I was at home,” answered Norman.

“Did you see Mr. Greenburg at that time?”

“Jesse? No, I didn’t.”

“Norm?!” Jesse exclaimed as a thousand goose bumps popped up on his skin. “What are you saying?!”

“Is anything wrong?” asked Norman.

“Tell him the truth!” shouted Jesse.

“I told the truth. What’s going on?” Norman stared at the detective.

“So, Mr. Greenburg was not at your house yesterday at nine pm?”

“No, he was not. What happened?”

“What happened?!” Jesse was ready to charge at Norman, but restrained himself, being aware that it would only harm him.

“I guess we’re finished here,” said Lewis with a smile.

7.

“This necklace…How much is it?” Paul put his arm around Jane’s waist.

“I don’t remember the exact price.” Jane kissed Paul on the cheek. “You made a great robber.”

“And you made a great victim.”

“Having fun, kids?” Norman entered the room.

“Mr. Cooper, are you sure it was Jesse who killed your dog?” asked Jane.

“I am positive. I wish they had driving schools in prison.”

“Bad thing he’ll never know why we framed him,” said Paul.

“Why? I’m going to send him a postcard to prison,” said Norman. “A postcard with a picture of a dog. A dog riding a bicycle.”

THE END

***

Tim Kizer has authored several novels and numerous short stories in the horror, suspense, and action thriller genre.

He resides in Southern California. His current release is the thriller “Hitchhiker.”

Trapped by Alain Gomez – Free Flash Fiction To Creep You Out!

Trapped

by Alain Gomez

His head hurt.  He must have been hit with something.  Whatever it was, it
must have been heavy.

He rolled his tongue around a bit.  His mouth felt dry.

He must have been unconscious for several hours at least.

His head still hurt too much to try and sit up.  With a groan he tried to
look around.  It was pitch black.

Where was he?!  He didn’t remember it ever being so dark at the tavern he
had been staying at.  He was probably dumped on some cheap bed somewhere.

His head hit something solid as he tried to sit up.

How strange.

He reached up with his hands to feel what was above him.  It felt like wood.

Why would anyone put…

A horrifying thought crawled into his head.

His hands trembled slightly as he tried to reach out to either side of his
body.

There was wood there too.

White-hot panic coursed through him as he started to kick and push at his
coffin.

But the weight bearing down on him was too much to move.

He wasn’t dead!  It wasn’t his time!  Didn’t anybody realize they had made a
mistake?!

He dug his nails deeply into the rough wood about him; careless of the
splinters that pushed into his fingers.

The air was getting thick and warm.

Blood started to flow freely down his arms as he continued to frantically
scratch.

It was getting warmer.  Harder to think.

He wasn’t dead… It wasn’t his time…

***

Alain Gomez lives in San Diego and has been writing since she was sixteen. She works in the field of music but has continued to pursue her passion for writing as an independent author. Though she generally sticks to writing
shorter stories, Alain enjoys experimenting with a variety of genres including romance and science fiction. Trapped is from her collection Dead in a Flash.

South Dakota by Robin Morris – Free Short Story To Get You Ready For Halloween!

In an effort to promote Indie authors and their short stories I put out a call to all my ‘Creepy’ writers. Creepy as in their story. Their stories are free on my site, but they’ve got more work available, so check them out! First up is a story by Robin Morris from her collection “Halloween Sky and Other Nightmares.”

 

South Dakota

 by Robin Morris

 Sweat burned in her eyes. Maggie took off her straw hat and pulled up the collar of her denim shirt, doing her best to mop her forehead and get the salty sting out of her eyes. She should have brought a handkerchief, or tied a bandanna around her neck before setting out that morning.

She turned to look at the town where she had spent her entire fifty five years. Even though she had only walked a couple of miles, the town had already disappeared into the South Dakota plains. There was only flat land and endless sky.

Maggie pulled out her little spiral notebook, where she kept her checklist, and fumbled the much used stub of a pencil out from its place in the spiral binding.

She checked off the last item on the list, which was, “Look back, just once.” All the others were checked. The job was done.

Replacing her hat on her head, Maggie started to tuck the notebook back into the pocket of her jeans, but then hesitated. She had been planning this for so long. It was all she had thought about for the last ten years or so. Had she done it right? Had it been a job worthy of all the planning? It wouldn’t hurt to review it to be sure.

She knew she would have to start early. The first thing was to catch all the farmers having breakfast down at the cafe. If she let them get away, they would scatter to their work and their lands and her plan would be ruined.

At six a.m. she was at the cafe. Helen Plowder remarked on her being there so early. “Big plans today.” Maggie said. Helen smiled, her lips shiny with bright red lipstick even at this hour. Helen always smiled, no matter what you said, and her lips were always the color of blood.

“What can I get you?” Helen asked. Maggie ordered coffee, then waited for the farmers to come.

The Tip Top cafe was not the first step in the plan. It was important to keep people from getting in a call to the outside world. So very early, two hours before the Tip Top opened, Maggie was up a pole several miles out of town, cutting the phone line. It was not unusual for the line to go down, and when it did someone had to come out from Aberdeen to fix it. It might even be a while before folks noticed. There wasn’t much reason to call out of town.

When the time came, and the cafe was full of old men in caps with CAT or JOHN DEERE on them, Maggie went out to her car. She had decided not to depend entirely on her own speed with her shotgun, though she had practiced hour after hour behind her barn until she could pump it and shoot fast and accurately.

The grenades sailed through the door of the cafe, and the effect was exactly as Maggie had imagined it. They didn’t kill everyone, of course, but the men who found their way out were confused and deafened, and easy to finish with the shotgun.

Entering the cafe, Maggie made sure no one was still moving. She found Helen, who had fallen behind the counter and been protected from the blast. Helen opened her mouth, stunned and unable to say anything. Maggie aimed the shotgun and with a loud boom, the color of blood was everywhere.

The rest of the town would be less easy. She didn’t have to worry much about the stores on Main street, they had closed long ago. Maggie remembered a time when there was a hardware store, and a grocery, and some other things. In her childhood there had even been a movie theater. All of that was gone. Most of the people were gone too, leaving the town forgotten on the plains. The people that remained were old. Both the town and it’s people were waiting to die. Maggie meant to end the wait.

She knew the town. She knew everyone in it and everything about them. Everyone else did, too, of course. In a town this small there were no secrets. Except for Maggie’s plan.

She went house to house. Usually the shotgun was the best tool for the job. An occasional grenade came in handy, and sometimes it was just fun to use one. She did have to be somewhat careful. Every house had some kind of gun in it. If anyone realized what she was doing, he or she could be waiting behind a shed or barn. But she had the advantage that everyone knew her as well as she knew them. She just knocked on the door and waited for the person inside to open the door.

Martha Klegg had been the first real problem, after the shotgun blast just winged her.

Martha was something over eighty years old, though she would never tell anyone her exact age. She had lived alone ever since her husband Sam was torn apart in an accident with a combine many years before. Martha could be seen every day, walking through the town, and out on the county road, occasionally taking a short cut through a field. No one minded. She was friendly when you talked to her but she never made any effort to talk to you. Unless you said something Martha would breeze right by and never notice you were there.

She was always talking, too, muttering her end of complicated conversations with someone no one else could see. Everyone assumed she was talking to Sam. No one thought of her as crazy. Some remembered Sam and how much the two had been in love. The town just let Martha Klegg be.

But Martha was a problem for Maggie. First off, it was difficult to find her at home. Maggie had solved that by watching Martha’s house every day for two weeks. The old widow’s schedule was not the same every day, but she generally didn’t get out on her walks until a little after nine. This fit in pretty well with Maggie’s schedule unless there were other delays.

The second problem was one that Maggie hadn’t considered. Martha was fit. All that walking had made her a bundle of muscle. This made it harder than expected to hunt her down.

When Martha opened the door to Maggie’s knock, she just opened it a crack. Maggie didn’t want to take the time to talk her into opening it wider, so she just let go with the shotgun, putting a nice sized hole in the door.

When she pushed the door open, Martha wasn’t there. Some spots of blood indicated that the old woman had been hit, but the lady had vanished.

It was more of a hunt than Maggie wanted, and it put her behind schedule. Finally the occasional spots of blood led her to a stream bed a good half a mile away, where Martha Klegg looked at Maggie wide eyed, lying half in the stream and mumbling to whomever she mumbled to.

After finishing that, the rest of it went pretty well. She counted up to fifty two, checking each name off in her notebook. It was afternoon by then, and hot. Maggie was glad she had decided to bring her straw gardening hat with her. “Straw Hat” was on the list of supplies in her notebook, and the hat itself had been carried on her back by it’s tie string until it was needed.

It wasn’t until Maggie was far out of town that she realized how badly she needed something to wipe the sweat out of her eyes with.

Her last look back at the town had gone on long enough. She had a long walk ahead of her, to the old cabin. Every item on the checklist had been checked off. The plan was complete. Maggie was free.

* * *

“You want some pie?” Helen asked. She smiled her blood red smile.

“Can’t go a day without your pie,” Maggie said, “you know that.”

Helen went to get the pie. Maggie listened to the babble of the old farmers behind her. She took her notebook out of her pocket and opened to the checklist. She wrote “handkerchief” under the previous last item. There were no check marks by the items on the checklist. The plan was still a plan, and the job was yet to be done. But one fine morning Maggie would wake up and decide that today was the day.

Helen came back with a slice of pie and placed it in front of Maggie. “What are you always writing in that old notebook?” she asked.

Maggie hastily closed the notebook and stuffed it back in her pocket. “Just plans for the future,” she said.

Helen laughed. “The future’s pretty much the same as the past or the present around here.”

“You never know,” Maggie said. She heard the chatter of the old men behind her. She looked at Helen’s blood red smile. When she looked at anyone in town she saw their deaths. She had their deaths in her pocket. Once she had gone through the plan enough times, visually reviewed every detail in her mind, imagined each of the town’s residents in turn being more of a problem than expected, she would decide the time had come.

“How’s that pie?” Helen asked.

“Great.” Maggie said, and ate her pie in a cafe full of dead people.

***

Robin Morris resides in the dreary clime that is southern California. Unable to go outside for fear of being burned to a crisp, I mean, for fear of getting a sunburn, she stays holed up in her crypt, er, one room apartment, spinning scary stories. Her only companions are her familiars, that is, her cute cuddly kitty cats. In addition to the horror story collection she has one novel, “Mama.”