This weeks story is dark, cold, and creepy. The tragic effect of a power outage in winter, and the story of someone who has no where else to go. This is the story of Margaret, and I don’t want to give anything else away, but this is the kind of story that ends up in criminal minds… So reader beware.

Margaret knew if there had been any light at all in the basement she would be able to see her breath. The blackout that started, what felt like days ago, had gone on long enough that the cold weather had seeped in from outside.
She had assumed it was winter from the dryness of the air, but there were no windows in the basement, and no calendar on the wall. She couldn’t say for certain how long she had been in this room, this single room that had become her entire world.
She bundled herself up the best that she could, and she waited, desperately hoping that Greg would come back soon. Greg’s arrival was always something that she looked forward to, and dreaded in equal measure. He was the only person she ever saw, and with a variable schedule she never knew he would be coming back. He also brought food when he came, filled the fridge and and the freezer, brought her new clothes, puzzles, toys, and books. Greg was the only thing that was keeping her sane down here.
Greg didn’t come without his downsides though. He was short tempered, violent, and lustful. The combination left him unpredictable, and her usually limping when he finally left.
Now she didn’t care about the pain, all she cared about was the darkness. She had thought she had seen the worst of this place with it’s isolation and boredom, but the lack of light made it unbearable. The good news was, tht the low temperature would stop the food in the fridge from spoiling. Leaving on the tap had guaranteed that the pipes wouldn’t freeze, so she would have water, but the temperature was beginning to concern her.

She had already started loosing feeling in her extremities, and while moving around warmed them for a short time, at some point she would fall asleep. As the time passed she could feel the heat draining from the space, from her, taking what little energy she had. The cold water she drank chilling her from the inside, and she flinched with every sip.

She didn’t dare sleep, not knowing how cold it really was, going to sleep might be the last thing she ever did. She didn’t yell, or scream, or cry, there was no point. She had gotten that out of her system years ago, when she thought she still had a chance of leaving this basement.

Now the idea of leaving the basement frightened her. The world changed so fast, she wasn’t sure what she would be walking out into, and if they hadn’t found her by now, it wasn’t likely anyone would any time soon. That meant that walking out of here would be Greg’s choice, and she knew that it wouldn’t end well for her.

She wasn’t the first to be down here. If she hadn’t been tipped off by the lingering scent from the worn clothes she was given, the scratches on the walls, or the well worn groove along the floor at the end of her chain, the names on the underside of the bed would have given it away. There were two, each with a date beside them, and a dash, with no end written. She filled those in, she recognized the names after all, from the missing reports, from the coroners reports.

It’s how she knew hat she had been here longer than either of them, than both of them combined actually. She wondered what they had done, what had happened that had made him want to replace them so soon, and yet keep her all this time. Her eyes drifted shut, and then popped open. She wished she knew how many years it had been for sure, that he wasn’t just making up Christmas to throw her off, but now with the cold she was pretty sure the cycles of humidity and dryness had been winter and summer after all, and if that was true, she had been down here for 7 years. Her refection in the toaster had showed that time had not been kind to her, and she didn’t check it often, but now in the darkness she wished she could see it, just one last time.

All to soon it grew colder even faster, and her eyes spent more time shut than open. Greg wasn’t going to make it in time, maybe whatever storm that had taken the power was keeping him away. Maybe he was in the accident, the one that took out the power. She wouldn’t know though.

She took a deep breath in, and as she let it out, she let it all go, and stopped fighting. She pulled off the blankets, laid on the cement floor, and let the cold carry her off to sleep. If she was lucky, this would be the year that her family finally got closure. She would let go, so that they could let go too. Really, it wasn’t the worst way for this to end.

What a Difference a Day Makes

Welcome to this weeks response to the Friday Picture prompt on The Writer’s Mess! With Halloween on the brain, and this weeks image being that of a full moon, it doesn’t take a genius to realise where this weeks prompt was heading.  Follow the story of our narrator, who get’s in a car accident the week of the full moon…

Getting in a car accident sucked.

Getting in a car accident and healing so fast that they thought they mixed up her scans with another patients, really sucked.

Getting in a car accident, and being in a coma for an indeterminate time, that sucked the most.

Losing track of time wasn’t that big of an issue for most people, but when you turned into a bloodthirsty monster on the full moon, keeping an accurate calendar was key.

She only realised that the moon was rising full, when her bones started to snap, startling the nurse who was taking her vitals.

They thought it was tetanus, and so they ignored her pleas for them to leave.

They all died. 

The doctors, the nurses, the other patients, all of them died in that hospital, because she had a brain injury and couldn’t remember the day of the week.

It was a massacre, plain and simple. 

It the morning she called the council, and explained what happened.

The hospital burned, the investigators were bribed to look the other way, and the survivors didn’t retain the title long.

She was tried, and found innocent in a court of law, despite the body count. 

The judge looked at her with sympathy as the verdict was delivered, because she would have to live with the weight of what she had done for the rest of her life.

She never lost track of her dates again.


This is this kind of story I call horror of a different type, as it tells the story of a little girl learning the hard way that stranger danger only accounts for 1% of all child adductions. Its based on that line from Criminal Minds, and my own indoctrination of “Stranger Danger” from school, where they mostly taught us to not take candy from a stranger.

I heard a line once in a show that the concept of stranger danger had made people aware of the man in the white van, but that was only 1% of all abductions. That most children knew those that took them. I certainly did.

He wasn’t a friend, or a family member, or even a teacher. He was the dude at the park. I know on the surface that this makes it sound like he was a stranger, but he really wasn’t. His name was Charlie, and he lived a few streets over from me. He worked at the same place as my dad for a while, until the lay offs. Thats where I first met Charlie, at a fourth of July party that the company was throwing in their heyday, when the money was still flowing.

Then it stopped flowing, and they let most of the staff go. My dad managed to stay on, he worked at the warehouse, and coordinated the shipping, before from the production, and after from the imports. I didn’t get what that meant at the time, but I could always repeat it to people.. All I really understood was that it wasn’t great, but it was a job, and that was what was important, I guess. He worked a lot more hours after the lay offs, Mmom too, at the time I thought they were just really busy, but looking back dad must have taken a pay cut.

Anyway, Charlie had gotten a few part time things, I saw him around a lot, but nothing stable, because the guy spent a lot of time in the park. The other kids refered to him as the dude at the park, but since I knew him, they never really told anyone about it because Charlie wasn’t a stranger.

He was also, a lot of fun. He brought things to the park for us kids, shovel and kites, and trucks, and sometimes snacks. We all quickly learned that a day where Charlie showed at the park with a big bag of stuff, was going to be a great day.

I think it’s why I wasn’t even remotely suspicious of him when he asked for help picking up some goodies for the day. My friends weren’t there yet, and I was SO excited to see what he was gonna get us ,that I got in the back of that car and did up my seat belt myself.

I knew Charlie, Charlie was fun, and he gave us treats all the time, so I took the juice-box without question. It was my favorite flavor, because unlike Dad, Charlie was great about remembering that kind of thing. He always brought each and every one of our favorites, no matter how weird they were.

I dozed off in the car, and it was something I did a lot back then, I didn’t even realize something was wrong when I did wake up. I wasn’t sure where we were, and it was the same amount of bright out. It felt like I had been sleeping a long time though, and when I looked down I realized I was wearing different clothes. I tried to open the window, and the door, but I couldn’t the handles didn’t move. Even my seatbelt was stuck on, and when I tried to kick I realized my feet were tiedd down. I screamed and cried, and Charlie said nothing.

I finally wore myself out, and just stared out the window a while. It was okay, someone would find me, it hadn’t been that long. That’s when I saw the sign “Welcome to Fort Worth, TX”. I remembered seeing it on a map once it school, when my teacher drew a big circle showing hour far away you could go in a day if you drove the entire time, and my heart sunk. It had been a day, and I was very far from my home, and Charlie didn’t show signs of stopping any time soon.

Eventually I whined I was thirsty, hoping he would stop, but he just gave me another juice box, and I drank it thirsty, and hungry. I felt myself getting sleepy, and I realized that the juice had tasted a little funny, the same as last time.

When I woke up this time, I was in a basement. Later I would discover that we were in San Ysirdo, in south San Diego. I didn’t leave the basement for a long time. Charlie home schooled me, called me his little girl, and taught me to be good.

I did get good enough eventually, to be allowed out. I went to high school there, and Charlie even let me go to South Western when I graduated. There were two rules, I was Shelly Wright, and I had to live at home.

I miss them, from time to time, my birth parents. I think they would be happy for me here though. I had a good life with Charlie, he took care of me, and I loved him like a Father. I wasn’t part of the 1%, but things turned out well enough for me.

Weird add on to this, about the “taking candy from a stranger” thing. In high school, two of my friends actually did get into a strangers van for candy. They were lucky, because this person ended up being a parent, making a donation of candy to the school for Halloween, but I often think back on that, and think how badly two fifteen-year-olds getting into a stranger’s van could have ended…

Dust in the Wind…

This seemed like a good choice for kicking off October, the month of horror. The is the story of a man who discovers his time is coming to an end, and the realization that he has some loose ends to tie up. One of the many inspired by watching too much Prodigal son.

I couldn’t believe the diagnosis when the doctor handed me the paper, but there it was staring at me in black and white. I had lung cancer, stage 4.

I thought that I had a cold, and maybe at one point I did have a cold, but I was watching a stupid advert with a dancing three week cold germ saying “after 3 weeks, thats no ordinary germ” and I went to the doctor.

I had never smoked. I ate healthy, and my day job didn’t put me at risk. Even my doctor was a bit of a loss to explain it, given the type, I didn’t have any of the usual professional indicators that she saw.

To say I had a hard time accepting it would be an understatement. I may, MAY, have had a little bit of a tantrum in the doctor’s office. I felt even more foolish after as she sat staring, and then asked, when I was breathing heavily and out of energy, if I was done yet.

Apparently that happened a lot, and while she would request, politely, I don’t do it again, not to be too embarrassed. She also printed me a list of common and less common causes of my brand of lung cancer, and booked me an appointment the following week to discuss treatment. And an appointment for a therapist the following day.

I got home, and I felt numb. I was dying, and no matter what they did, they likely could only prolong the inevitable. I went through the motions as I made and ate dinner, cleaned the dishes, went down the the basement, and I only started to feel something again when I was telling Julia about my day.

She just stared, silent, and terrified and I can tell that she too is worried, about what this means, for me, for her, for us. I told her not to worry, it will be okay, but the terror never quite left her eyes. I replaced the duct tape over her mouth and chained her back to the wall, knowing that this won’t last as long as I wanted it to, that I would need to get rid of her before I was too weak. I wouldn’t want her to starve down there, that would just be cruel.

I lumbered back upstairs, and let myself feel all the little aches and pains I hadbeen ignoring, the cancer that ass slowly killing me. I pulled out my laptop, and the pamplets and I began to research. I had gotten to the lesser known causes when I started to laugh, and laugh, until I cried and couldn’t breath.

There, half way down the list, was inhalation of bone dust and it was just hilarious I guess. The shield I used to protect myself from blood spatter had done much to protect me from blood borne pathogens, though I will admit I had caught a few things over the years of cutting up bodies. It was always something small though, something treatable, and now, now the thing I loved most in the world was killing me, and I couldn’t even tell the doctor why. I thought back to Julia in the basement, and heaved a sigh. Well, its too late now, not like one more was going to kill me any faster.