Those Post Christmas Blues…

This week’s response to the picture prompt on the Writer’s Mess, ended up being a follow up to last weeks rather disturbing story.  It works as a stand alone, but this is what happens the day after Christmas, that little letdown that follows the holidays for some of us, but obviously not for all the same reasons.


The crackling fire that had warmed his heart before Christmas day, now gave him a chill of emptiness. It reminded him of how good the holidays had been this year, and now it was over. It would be eleven months before he felt that way again, and it made him sad.

He thought of his love, the way the red had brought out the green of her eyes, and how he would never see them again. Yesterday was their last day together, and now it was all about the clean up.  The tree, the decorations, the blood, all of it would have to taken away, without the comfort of knowing someone was waiting for him when he was done.

He would stay at the cabin till new years, like he always did, watching the clock count down to midnight alone, and another year start as barren as this one had.  He would go back to his place in the city, to his job, his coworkers, and make resolutions that would be forgotten in a  month.

The days would bleed into one another, an endless blur of projects, deadline, and paychecks that didn’t really mean anything at all, not to him.  He sighed as he thought about it, feeling tired, and heavy with the realization of what laid ahead of him.

Oh well, there would always be next Christmas.

Blackout

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.

Nos Sumus in Tenebris

This week’s six-sentence story prompt by girlontheege was EDGE. I wrote about a woman walking home after dark, with the feeling she is being followed. Or alternative summary “you aren’t afraid of being alone in the dark, you are afraid of not being alone in the dark.”


She wasn’t a paranoid person, and she couldn’t explain it, but tonight as she walked down the empty street towards her house she knew without a shadow of a doubt that she was not alone.

She stopped and started a few times, took a few detours, picked up her pace, but every time she surveyed the area she could see that there was no one else around.

She could feel them through, the eyes watching her, making the hair on the back of her neck stand up as every primal instinct told her that she was being hunted.

The area was residential, all the house lights off, and she had moved from a speed walk to a run when she she finally heard something scraping behind her, followed by a growl that reverberated down her spine as she was paralyzed by fear.

Then it was in front of her with the dim light of the street lamp glinting off the razor sharp edge of the teeth that were about to end her life and she had one final thought.

You aren’t paranoid if they are actually out to get you.


For those wondering about the title, we are in the dark nos sumus in tenebris

The Perfectionist

I have to start with May the 4th be with you! This week’s six sentence story prompt by girlontheedge was CONTROL, and it got weird. What started with a perfectionist researcher being interrupted turned a little strange, and well it’s up to you if you want to interpret this as horror/fantasy or take it as a metaphor.


The sounds of Bach’s Cello Suite No 1 came from a waterproof speaker mounted high in the corner of the lab, the only deviation in an otherwise textbook set-up.

The lab equipment was all stored as precisely as if it were a demo rather than a working lab, and the few samples being worked on were set up on an immaculate bench top, all labelled with perfectly legible capital letters, all spaced exactly one inch apart.

The scientist working on them also appeared picture ready, with nary a hair out of place as she methodically reviewed her data, making notations in her lab book with a precise print that almost looked typed, and only when she was sure that every detail had been captured did she move onto the next step in her procedure.

Then HE stepped into the lab, him in his open toed shoes, stopping the music, waving his hands as if he wasn’t surrounded by fragile equipment, and all hell broke loose when he finally made contact, her sense of control shattering along with the glassware.

She turned, snarling, her hair bursting from it’s tie as the strands turned to snakes ready to devour their prey, claws escaping through the tips of her gloves, and he barely had a chance to widen his eyes in horror before it was all over.

Three hours later the lab was back to it’s impeccable state, Bach’s Cello Suite No 1 drifted from the recently sterilised speaker as she stepped inside, freshly showered in a new lab-coat and gloves, she was ready to resume her work without interruption, and the only attention she gave to the now bulging biohazard bag was a note in her lab book to have it scheduled for removal when she was finished for the day.


Side note, going forward theses are moving to Wednesday’s and the Short Stories will be moving to Friday’s.