Short Shocktober Day 12 – Teeth

Whoops, posting these got away from me a little bit there. A few are unwritten, but I’ve got a couple written that I didn’t get around to posting. Here’s the Short Shocktober prompt from Day 12Teeth. Enjoy!

Content warning: body horror

More Than a Kiss

He didn’t notice until the morning after, when the tall, thin girl had left. She had given him a hickey, just below his right collar bone. Catching sight of it in the mirror in the bathroom made him blush, ever so slightly, and his heart beat quicken, remembering the out of character, anonymous debauchery he’d engaged in the night before.

               Witchy girl, was what he called her. Dorky? Yes, but she’d been pale, in a black dress hemmed with bones, and her long, straight black hair had been topped with a pointed black hat. It fit. She didn’t take the hat off, now he thought about it. Best Halloween ever.

               His minded drifted to her over the next few days. He found himself wondering what she was up to. He was kicking himself they hadn’t swapped numbers. Or names. He wondered if she was wondering what he was up to.

               The hickey, in the meantime, just got bigger. The small, mouth-sized purple blot grew into a red leaf shape, soft, raised and painless.

               After a week he sucked up the courage to call Benson.

               ‘I guess you had fun last week,’ his mate teased.

               ‘I… yeah, I really did,’ he replied with a smile, invisible over the phone.

               ‘It was nice to see, mate, especially after all this time. We all thought you’d be doing your monk routine forever. You seeing her again?’

               ‘Well, that’s what I was ringing about-‘ Benson was a good friend but talking to him was a contact sport.

               ‘Didn’t get her number, huh? She came with Carrie, I think. What’s her name, I’ll ask her about it.’

               ‘We uh…,’ he cleared his throat, ‘we didn’t exactly make much small talk-‘

               ‘Allen Cooper, you sly dog. I didn’t know you had it in you,’ he could see Benson messaging the friend group, in his mind’s eye, grinning gleefully. ‘I’ll ask Carrie about her witchy friend. Don’t you worry about it.’

               A few days later the red leaf shape had grown more distinct. He found himself looking at a red mark beneath the skin shaped exactly like a pair of lips. It looked exactly like a cartoon lipstick kiss, in fact. It wasn’t painful, it didn’t wash off, and it wasn’t on the surface. With the slightly soft raised areas beneath it, it began to look like one of those subdermal body mods of a pair of lips.

               Benson left a message a few days later.

               ‘Sorry, bud, Carrie didn’t know her, but don’t worry! The friend group is on it – we’ll find your dark mistress!’

               He hoped they would. He had questions.

 Beads of sweat stood out all over him, as he stared at the shape on his chest in the mirror. The final slip of skin between the lips split, and they opened with a smile, revealing a row of snow white teeth. Then the teeth opened too, and a slick tongue slipped out to lick the lips seductively.

‘Feed me,’ the mouth purred.


Words: 499

Short Shocktober Day 11 – Slither

Content warning: gore, right from the off.

Slither

Something falls out of the body and lands with a wet slap on the floor, while he’s weighing the liver. He doesn’t pay it too much mind, at first; bodies are full of fluids, and sometimes, leaks happen. Then there’s the gentle, wet susurrus of something slithering away into the shadows by the cabinets and he freezes.

               Carter puts the liver back on the scales gingerly and steps around the pale body, prone on the mortuary table. There’s a swipe of crimson down its side, down the table, across the floor. It slicks across the rough surfaced tile in a curving bands of red, all the way to the metal cabinets in the corner, the formaldehyde storage, where it disappears underneath.

               ‘What the hell…’ he mutters to himself, as he picks up one of his knives. A rat? Something must have dragged an intestine from the body, and there wasn’t anyone in here so it has to be, what, a rat? There’s no way they could survive all the traps down here, though, right? Why would a rat take an intestine?

               And why wasn’t the intestine attached at the other end? He glances back to Mr Hancock on the table, notes the missing small intestine, and tries to find the end to figure out how it was severed.

               He doesn’t notice the wet slithering noise. Something enormous, ruby, glistening with blood, rises up like a snake behind him, poised to strike with alien fangs, shining from its torn orifice.


Prompt: Slithering

Words: 250

Optional Rule: Short and Spooky

Day 11 of Short Shocktober complete. “But where’s day ten?” I hear you cry. Well, I didn’t remember about it until ten thirty last night, and by that point I was already in bed, winding down for the day, so… I owe one, I guess is what I’m saying?

Decided to go shorter on this one because I wanted to test myself, and because I wasn’t sure that I had 500 words for this. It would have just been me trying to fill the space. I think shorter might be better in this instance. What’s going to happen to poor Carter? You get to decide, in your imagination!

Short Shocktober Day 9 – Shadow

Content warning: alcoholism

A Case of Alienation

The face in the inky black window was mine, but there was something wrong with it. Its eyes were dead, blank, sparkless. The lamp from my living room lit it, as I was drawing the curtains, and I stopped to examine it, disturbed my reflection should show such a soulless version of myself. Haloed by the night and front lit, its pallor made it look dead.

               Then it blinked its bloodshot eyes, by itself, and stepped away from the window, leaving just me and my reflection, staring at each other in surprise. I snapped the curtains shut, turned on the overhead lights and made sure that all of the doors were locked.

               I sat there in the glare, the TV on, the images unheeded by my brain, whose gears failed to mesh what I’d seen with a rational explanation.

               A double reflection, I settled on a few days later. The light from a car had reflected me onto a parked car, and as the car moved, so had my strange reflection. That’s what it was, I told myself, unconvinced that the solid face, pressed so close to the window that it should have left soft patches of condensation, was anything but real.

               A few days later, the curtains were shut, the overhead lights on (this had become a habit – no more shadowy lamplight for me), and a little rap came from the window. I froze, my hand on the TV remote, paralysed by indecision. Turn it off and listen again, or turn it up and pretend I’d heard nothing?

               I muted it and immediately regretted it.

               ‘Henry,’ something whispered outside. ‘Let me in, Henry.’ Its soft voice reminded me of dying words gasped by characters in films. ‘Let me in, Henry, it’s me, You.’

               Creeping as quietly as I could, I gently opened the passageway door and glanced at the front door.  The chain was on, the latch, too. Locked, I thought, good. It was a shadow of relief.

               I froze as the front flap of the letter box squeaked, and two pale, fish-flesh fingers stuck themselves through the inside flap. They felt about for a second.

               ‘Let me in, Henry, it’s cold out here. I’m You, Henry, your shadow. We shouldn’t be apart,’ the other person whispered, a pale face unclear through the frosted glass panes in the door.  It disappeared, as the creature ducked down. It lifted the flap with its fingers and I saw its bloodshot blue eyes then, my bloodshot blue eyes. The ones that had stared at me from the mirror every morning I woke up and drank. Every morning I woke up from another fight with people who cared about me, who’d promised not to have anything to do with me unless I sorted myself out.

               ‘C’mon, Henry. We don’t have to be apart. Let me in.’

               I went into the living room and crawled inside a bottle, and prayed it wouldn’t come back another night.


Prompt: Shadows

Words: 492

Day 9 of Short Shocktober complete. A particularly creepy one this one. Who hasn’t been alone at night, locking the doors and shutting the curtains, and wondered if there could be something out there?

I think, personally, that the quality of these is improving as time progresses. I confess to not having written much flash fiction before, and it’s a unique form – you have so few words to get things done in, that you find yourself having to cut things that you would normally be happy leaving in a longer piece.

Short Shocktober Day 8 – Chains

Content warning: stalking, mistreatment of the mentally ill

The Red Chain of Communion

Jane, the text message reads, there is a little red chain of communion between us, and there is nothing strong enough to snap that chain. If it should snap, I would bleed internally and die. I need you, Jane.

               It’s from an unknown number, but she knows who it’s from. She deletes it and blocks the number. The city square is crowded, the sun shines, people mill about their lives, but she looks over her shoulder nonetheless, and shivers. She doesn’t see anyone hovering over her, but it feels as though he’s there.

               It began as a job advert on a sketchy site. She’d known better, but she was desperate, and the pay was eye watering. That should have been the second tip-off. Live-in tutor in a fancy house in the country? Sounded ideal.

               Rochester had been pleasant enough, grumpy, perhaps, growing warmer, until she found herself blushing when he entered the room. Her heart beat faster, seeing him. Their conversations grew longer and longer, unphased by the sun setting, or rising, or the whispers of his guests or his house keeper.

               She began to suspect there was someone else in the enormous house with them. Perhaps an elderly relative that he neglected to mention out of some misplaced sense of shame. Some of her things went missing. She thought she heard someone whispering to themselves in the corridor one night.

               Then she awoke, in the middle of the black night, her doorknob gently rattling as someone tried to enter. The septic light of a torch lanced from the gap beneath the door. The door was locked – the house was creepy, vast, draughty, and the locked door made her feel safer – the intruder swore softly to herself and shuffled away, the floorboards creaking beneath her weight. Jane remained frozen in her bed until dawn whispered across the land.

               Rochester assured her she had dreamt it.

               She brought up marriage, again and again, assuming Rochester’s reticence was simply his taciturn manner. Eventually he broke down and revealed who it was that tried to enter her room that night, who it was that lived in the vast attics of Thornfield Hall.

               She had run, of course. As far, and as fast as she could, into penury at first, and then into the arms of distant relatives she hadn’t known existed.

               Then the messages from Rochester began.

               ‘She’s gone, Jane. There was a fire. It’s all alright now, we can marry. Come back to me, Jayne, please, come back to me, my helpmeet, my love, my Jane.’

               She hadn’t gone, of course. She had no desire to become the next Mrs Rochester trapped in the attic of whatever cobwebbed mansion he transplanted himself to. That poor woman. The news said she perished in a fire of her own making, but as Rochester’s messages, calls, visits, became more insistent, she began to wonder whether or not he had a hand in it.

               A  different apartment, a different city, distance; a different phone number, report after report to the police, all good things to keep between her and Rochester, but the calls continued, the messages got through every now and again.

               It seemed that little red chain of communion between them might truly never be snapped.


Prompt: Chains

Words: 542

Short Shocktober Day 8 done. Overdue and over length, sure, but done, at least. I can’t make going over length a habit, tho’.

I wasn’t expecting ‘Chains’ to come out as a horror rip-off of Jane Eyre, of all things, but it was such a fun idea when it hit me, I realised that I had to.

Short Shocktober Day 7 – Lantern

Content Warning: gore, death

The Light in the Woods

I was so lost that when I saw a lantern light, bobbing through the trees in the distance, I ran toward it. Its warm orange glow seemed to float and swing around, far above the ground, so it must have been on some sort of pole, I thought.

               Ferns lined the forest floor, thick and green, making passage slow, and the lantern bearer failed to hear or ignored my cries, begging them to wait. I stumbled on thick roots wound amongst the loam and pine needles littering the forest floor, and I followed the lantern desperately, unable to catch up.

               When we had stopped in town and said we were going camping in this wood, there wasn’t a single person who had said, ‘that’s a lovely idea’. They said ‘don’t go up into those woods,’ ‘that’s not a good idea, that forest is cursed. Strange things dwell in it.’

               Of course, we ignored them; we drove three hundred miles to see natural places that weren’t on any map or chattered about on any travel blog. We should have listened.

               We set up our tents, in small glade not far from the muddy clearing that served as a parking lot, and in the morning, prepared for the day’s hike through the woods. That was a full day ago.

               First, we got lost. As panic and night began to set in, we wandered past our marker of stones and sticks for the fifth time. We began to feel we were being toyed with.

               Then May spotted it. A skeletonized deer carcass, its bones held together by ragged strips of rotting meat – not a strange thing to find in a forest at all, but it was stranded up in one of the pines, tangled among the branches.

               ‘Something must have dragged it up there,’ May said, unable to take her eyes off it.

               ‘A mountain lion,’ Lonnie replied, dismissive.

               A cavalcade of skeletal animals had followed, all of them stuck in the trees, from snakes to deer to bears.

               Then we turned around to ask Lonnie something, only find he was missing. We searched for what felt like hours, and when I turned to see where May had gone, I found myself alone.

               Then I saw the lantern.

               I began to catch up with the glowing orb, at last, but to my horror, I found it was no lantern at all.

               Before me floated an enormous jelly-fish, its shining, gelatinous body glowing fire orange and fringed with frills of deep sea green. From its bobbing, undulating form draped enormous ribbon tenacles that dragged along the forest floor.

               I started and span to run, but found myself tangled in a net of tenacles behind me. Where they brushed my skin it blistered with fire, and I fought wildly for a short time, but their paralysing venom quickly took effect, and soon I fought no more.

               The forest was lit with the glow of hundreds of these creatures, bobbing feet above the floor. The last thing I saw was May, tangled in one’s tentacles, her face in blank agony, unmoving, as I was dragged, limp, off my feet, towards the pulsating body above.


Prompt: Lantern

Words: 532

Day 7 of Short Shocktober! I really liked the idea behind this one, I hope that the image I had in my head comes across. It was inspired by this video on Tumblr of a guy paddleboarding over a very still sea filled with jellyfish, and someone wrote about how wild jellyfish are beneath it, just floating about, eating far more complex organisms without realising it. I can’t find the post again because Tumblr’s search features etc are garbage.

P.s. I promise to write one where the protagonist surives one day. Maybe. I maybe promise it. I think. I dunno. Probably not? Well… we’ll see.


Update: OH! OH! I found it! The jellyfish post that inspired this mess! It rolled back around on to my dash, and it still made my skin want to crawl off my body and walk away!

Short Shocktober Day 6 – Stars

Nothing Between the Stars

Something thuds against the hull. Spencer freezes, shock overwhelming his system for a second. He leaps over to the observation bay and flicks through all the cameras.

               There’s nothing there except slightly fuzzy, black and white images of the outer hull, lit by the external lights. Nose, nothing.  Midsection, nothing. Airlocks, nothing. Aft and engines, nothing.

               There’s another thud above his head; the metallic noise reverberates through the ship. Spencer flicks to the dorsal nose camera – it shows the outside of the ship.

               There’s nothing there. There’s nothing outside but the deep black of space. There aren’t any planets near. He’s travelling several thousand miles an hour, and there’s no atmosphere out there. There’s nothing there.

               He listens, frozen once more, to the sound of something walking across the hull. Nothing on the camera. The sound walks towards the nose and stops at the three panoramic windows in front of the flight controls. Spencer watches the window with growing dread, but nothing appears. Still nothing on the cameras.

               Spencer steps over to the life support and integrity desk. The hull’s intact, none of the warning sensors are going off, none of the electrical systems are compromised, there are no leaks detected. Could a loss of structural integrity, a series of panels buckling, cause the walking noise? All the instruments are green; the structural integrity of the ship is perfect.

               His head whips up at the screeching noise, and he watches, trembling, as a long, thin white scratch is drawn across the outside of the right hand window, like someone dragging a nail across it. It stops as suddenly, leaving a metre long scratch.

               Something thuds back along the outside of the ship, heading to the midsection and the first bank of airlocks.

               Spencer races to the emergency locker by the door, drags out the orange suit and begins donning it as fast as he can. If there’s something out there and it decides it wants to be in here, he doubts it’ll wait for the airlock to cycle before it makes its ingress.

               He’s got the tight weave overalls on, and is putting the boots on, sealing them tight, when an alarm begins to sound. He ignores it; gloves next, and then fishbowl helmet. Safety first, Spence.

               Over at the howling integrity desk, he can see a big red mark on the holographic readout of the ship. Something punched straight through the airlock doors and into the corridor. The doors to the adjacent rooms have snapped shut already, but he strides to the helm door and slaps the emergency closure. The door scythes shut beside him, sealing with a mechanical whirr.

               There’s a noise on the outside of the hull by the window. Spencer’s head snaps around.  There’s two?

               The window with the scratch shatters and Spencer scrabbles for a console as he and the air are ripped from the ship.

               He smashes his head on the ceiling on the way out, and the black engulfs him.


Prompt: Stars

Words: 497

Day 6 of Shocktober over! It’s hard to consistently produce something different each day that you’re happy showing to the public, but it’s also rewarding and teaching me to ditch my perfectionist tendencies. They’re normally what stops me from doing the thing. Anyway, enjoy space horror, brought to you by Alien and Jurassic Park (did you make the connection?)

Short Shocktober Day 5: Whispers

The Whispers of the Saltmarsh Stone

5th of October, 1891

Yesterday we finally took our little trip to ‘the seaside’. Just a short excursion for the day, along the estuary to the salt marsh. It seems rather preposterous to say that you have taken a trip ‘to the seaside’, when Weatherly Hall overlooks the cliffs and sea, but Arthur has lived here all his life and that is what they have always called it, ‘the seaside’, as though it were the only coast in existence.

               And what a sea it is! Grey as slate and almost always miserable. I long so dearly to be back in Monaco with its sparkling blue sea, but Arthur, with his fussy old ways, will leave Britain on his death bed, I fancy. No matter.

               At the saltmarsh, Arthur and I disembarked and asked Jenkins to wait for us. We strolled then, I matching Arthurs arthritic gait as much as I could, though the slowness of his pace made my step feel as though I were hobbled.

               Through the skinny trees of the saltmarsh we walked, along the planks set out for that purpose. The path led to a small black sand cove, and this was where Arthur presumed that we were going, but I had other ideas for our walk, and my ‘beloved’.

               ‘What’s down there, darling?’ I asked as we came to a split in the path. He peered between the thicker trees and up the path that sloped up to drier land.

               ‘Oh, just some old standing stone, dear, nothing interesting.’

               ‘Oh, an ancient monument? I should like to see it, if we may.’ It didn’t take much cajoling. Strong though he once was, and admittedly, in his upper body, still is, a short walk with a rest at a monument was more appealing than a traipse to the black sand shore.

               Our little stroll was pleasant enough. As the trees grew thicker and the brackish smell of the marsh receded, the smell of loam and deep woods grew. The thin sun was bright enough to light the leaves from above, so we walked beneath a canopy off translucent green. My anticipation grew as we neared the spot I had discovered and hatched my design.

               In the centre of the clearing stood a moss covered stone. It came to my chest, and I dragged Arthur over, arm in arm, to stand before it and inspect the strange designs carved into the slanted surface. With a deftness that I didn’t know I had, I withdrew the sewing needle I had hidden in the hem of my sleeve, and jabbed him with it.

               ‘Great heavens!’ he exclaimed and jerked away. I dropped the needle.

               ‘Oh my darling, what’s wrong? Is it an insect bite? Let me see.’

               He swiftly acceded to my ministrations. I held his hand over the ancient surface of the stone, and told him that we had best ensure the sting didn’t remain, and under those pretences, squeezed out a single ruby drop of his blood, which dripped on to the stone.

               It was absorbed into the dark surface instantly.

               The curse began to take effect just as swiftly. We returned to the carriage, Arthur’s mood soured, and by the time that we were home, he was complaining loudly about the whispers.

               ‘That damn whispering! Is it you?’ he accused me, ‘are you playing some sort of jape? I demand you stop it at once.’ Soon after, he took to his bed, and this morning I have sent for a doctor to tend his rapidly emaciated frame. He’s barely sane now, you see, having had to listen to their whispers all night long. It worked perfectly – he’ll be no longer able to manage his estate, but he isn’t dead yet, and it will be a simple enough thing for me to remain here and live the life I desire at Weatherly Hall, effectively by myself. A rousing success, I think.

               To other matters. My hand is a little sore; I seem to have given myself a splinter somehow. Perhaps I caught it on a thorn on our little trip yesterday. No matter, it will heal swiftly enough.

               The servants will have to go, of course. They don’t like me very much. Even now, I’m certain I can hear them whispering in the hallway, probably accusing me of poisoning their poor master. Damn them.

               It’s the strangest thing; I went to confront them, and there wasn’t a soul there. I must be hearing thi-

               No, there it is again! Where on earth is that whispering coming from?


Prompt: Whispers

Word Count: 761

That’s Day 5! I should have posted this yesterday, but forgot, so here it is this morning, instead. This one’s much longer than it should be, over the target by over half, but I was enjoying this one so much that I decided to make it a little longer. Enjoy!

Short Shocktober Day 4: Snapping

The Less Trod Path

The planks had creaked under his weight as he’d walked across them, gingerly, but they’d held. He’d been pressed flat against the rough rock of the mountain, calloused fingers searching desperately for solid holds in the abrasive rock. The clean, cold wind plucked at his hair and hems. Below the sheer rock face, hundreds of metres below, the mountain began to slope, and cypress and firs began to crowd the rock. It was beautiful, but he was immobile, too terrified to pay it any mind.

               ‘Don’t go by yourself,’ McTierney had said. ‘It won’t be like the plank walk at Huashan. No one’s been there for six hundred years, according to this,’ and he tapped the scroll covered in ancient Chinese characters. ‘If it’s there at all, it’ll be rotten and unmaintained. There won’t be a safety rope pinioned to the wall. You’ll be lucky if there are still the holes where the stone post had been!’

               He’d ignored him. The draw of being the first was too strong. McTierney had thought that refusing to go with him would be enough to stop him going, but he’d underestimated the draw of being the first. He’d underestimated his foolishness.

               The planks had held, surprisingly sturdy, their six hundred year old stone posts holding, too. Then he’d rounded the corner. He hadn’t gone more than a few metres and there was a rumble. He pressed himself to the rock, cowering, praying to avoid the stones falling from above, but they hadn’t been falling on him. He crept back to the corner. The planks were gone; only snapped stone posts remained.

               ‘Onward, then!’ he’d thought. There was no other option. The air was cold, that was what was giving him the shakes, he told himself, as he shimmied along the ancient, creaking planks. The sun began to set, and cast gold across his shoulders. He watched his shadow gingerly move along the rock face.

               At the edge of the next corner, he peered around.

               Nothing. A few holes, and a single stone peg that had once held a series of narrow planks. He shifted his weight uneasily and the wood beneath his feet squeaked in protest. Palms sweaty, heart thundering, he crept back to the middle of his planks, finding a stone peg to ‘rest’ above.

               There didn’t seem to be hand-holds forwards or backwards. Above, the sheer face of the mountain was worn smooth by the wind. He rest his forehead on the rough rock face, and sighed. Only McTierney knew where he was; he didn’t want to spread the word to competitors. How long would he wait before he came to look for him?

               He hadn’t moved, but the plank beneath him creaked ominously, and the stone peg ground in its socket.

               It didn’t matter how long McTierney waited. Even if he was already on his way, he thought, as the planks gave another, more urgent, cracking noise, he probably didn’t have much time left.


Prompt: Snapping

Word Count: 494

Day Four of Short Shocktober! Kind of an oblique interpretation of the prompt, but I think it works, nonetheless!

Short Shocktober Day 3: Viscera

Content Warning: self-harm, madness.

A New Organ

Tentacles lash in the dark. A blazing figure in yellow slumbers on a throne of shifting darkness. Sharp talons slither over flesh, and blood runs in crimson rivulets down the black steps before the King in Yellow.

*

3rd of October

They say they’ve found a new organ. The interstitium? They say it’s made of the collagen supported, fluid filled spaces between cells. It fills your entire body. It makes lymph. Whether it’s really an organ or not seems to be up for some debate.

               I can feel mine throbbing. Crawling, even. It matches the rhythm of the real Interstitium. I can feel it.

               I found the notes. The ones on the real Interstitium. Had you told me that one day a hobby of collecting medical journals would drive me mad, I would have had you thrown out of my surgery. The notes were buried in the back of the yellowing pages of a medical journal from 1910. It’s so old it smells of vanilla and must. Amid the descriptions of injecting cats with ink to track the movement of their corpuscles, the author, pen scratching and leaking, describes and sketches the space between, the seething gap between our world and theirs. The Interstitium. The twisted, warping landscape, blighted by a hint of their very presence, where their vast, incomprehensible beings leak from their world into ours.

               I wish I’d never read those mad scratchings. Now, when I sleep, I visit this half-place in dreams. It must be the intersitium. The organ, I mean. It connects me to their realm. That must be it.  There must be some combination of drugs that will numb it, or stop me dreaming. There isn’t a problem I’ve met yet, that can’t be solved by pharmacology.

*

A great wall of organic, fluid filled sacs undulate, throbbing. Their contents swirl like oil on water, galaxies and nebula at their heart. The wall splits and peels away. Behind it two putrid yellow eyes peer forth, beneath a blazing golden crown. It beholds me with indifference.

*

13th of October

The dreams have gotten worse and worse.  I’m seven nights without sleep, now. No one lasts longer than ten. I lie awake, dreaming. The veil between our world grows thinner and thinner in my body. The interstitium crawls and undulates throughout my form. When I am awake, I see things shifting in the corners of my eyes, spidery, shadow creatures, that aren’t there when I look. It must be a hallucination brought on by lack of sleep. The alternative is too terrible to countenance.

               The drugs didn’t work. No regimen of chemicals seems to have produced any effect at all. The interstitium must be excised. I’ve sharpened my scalpels and knives. I know what must be done. It will be hard to remain conscious whilst I strip the traitorous organ from my body, I know, but my fate is sealed, my will is steel.

               I know what must be done.


Prompt: Viscera

Word Count: 494

Little bit of cosmic horror for you all. That’s Day Three – Viscera – of Short Shocktober down. It’s very edifying to get pieces finished regularly.

Short Shocktober Day 2: Bones

Content Warning: Bones, gore.

The Lost Parisian Ossuary

‘Don’t you think it’s weird that all records of this place were destroyed, though?’ The questioned echoed in the tunnel’s narrow walls and arched ceiling. Taylor’s torch roved over gaping side tunnels, barely chasing back the black as he hurried along. His broad silhouette cut a manly, roguish figure in the torchlight, and I finally saw in him the Indiana Jones he always saw in himself.

               ‘Of course, someone wanted to hide it; it’s rumoured to hold a stash of gems. What fool would leave directions to their hidden treasure in the public record? Le Chat Noir was wise to scrub it from the plans after the renovations.’ I kicked a pebble and it clattered down the corridor at Taylor’s feet. I  let out a little involuntary squeak at the sound. Taylor sighed.

               ‘Pull yourself together,’ he demanded.  ‘There’s nothing down here but rats and bones. And cave dwelling crabs, apparently.’

               ‘I don’t think those gems exist,’ I confessed, as we hesitated at another cross roads. Taylor stopped to play his light over a yellowing map in his hand. The humid air was thick, faintly mouldy. ‘If this jewel thief existed, why didn’t he go back for his stash?’

               ‘Here,’ Taylor pointed, and plunged off to the right. ‘I told you; he dropped dead in the street. It was only the gendarme’s search of his apartment that revealed that he was La Chat Noir. It was only my little stroke of luck – and a dose of genius –‘ he said this bit under his breath, barely audible over the march of our feet, ‘that led to my  discovery.’

               ‘I think someone destroyed those records to stop people finding this place,’ I said, bumping into Taylor. Our tunnel had stopped as abruptly as Taylor, opening into a circular room.

               The walls were lined with bones, a regular repeating pattern of tibias alternating with skulls. Their empty eye sockets stared at us in surprise, as Taylor washed the room in the torch’s sterile light.

               ‘I can’t believe I found it,’ he whispered.

               He stepped into the room and a chill wind blew out of it. I could have sworn I heard someone whisper something in French, but I couldn’t make it out.

               ‘Come out of there,’ I told him quietly, but he just glanced back, rolled his eyes and took another step.

               There was a cracking noise, and Taylor jerked, frozen on the spot. The wind blew again. I definitely heard a whisper this time, but not loud enough to discern. He staggered forward one last step, and there was the crack once more, and the spectral voice. I finally understood it.

               ‘Join us.’

               Taylor jerked in agony. His torch clattered to the floor. He held up his hands in wretched horror, the bones exposed as the flesh peeled itself away. His eyes grew wide, his face of agony growing into a rictus as the flesh shrank and sloughed away, a soundless scream trapped between his skeletal jaws.

               I ran.


Prompt: Bones

Word Count: 498

Shocktober Day Two down! I think this one’s better. I did some brain storming and research and got some good non-fiction details, with some fascinating history. The Paris Catacombs are a real place! There’s probably not any curses or hidden treasure or anything down there, tho’. Probably….