Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Hauntingly, Spooky, Short Story Challenge

Yesterday on Facebook I thought we’d have a bit of fun, so I posted a “Hauntingly, Spooky, Short Story Challenge”.  This dared readers to exercise their creative muscles and come up with a short story using the writing prompt, “The awful smell surrounded me now, I wanted to escape, but it was so dark I was afraid to move."
This was a blast and we got some cleverly creepy tales in the process.  Today I am sharing with you my take on the prompt, as well as, the participating stories.  Special thanks to all who contributed.  Happy haunting everyone! 
(*stories are listed in the order they were posted.)
My Story:
I’ve been here for three days.  The awful smell surrounds me now, I want to escape, but it’s so dark I’m afraid to move.  I knew he’d come after me eventually, but I never dreamed the outcome would be as horrific as it has been. 
We’d once been in love, until the sickness consumed what was left of our lives.  Each day the simplicity of reality was drowned out, by the monsters of illusion.  I’d ran away to preserve a slowly dying affection, it wouldn’t be long until one or both of us slipped away. 
This old house was the home of my childhood, now condemned, just as I am.  The walls are stained by years of neglect and the shadows which lurk in the corners, are haunting reminders of where the madness began.  Flashes of cruelty and torcher flicker through the ever glowing red glimmers of past.
It couldn’t be possible that I wade through the muck of insanity with clear vision.  How could he have followed me when I clearly struggled to shield him?  Why is it now that I can see him so vividly standing in the hollowness of the door waiting for me, when days ago I was blinded by fear?
His ever approaching figure, taunting me with persuasive fantasy until I could no longer control the fiend inside;  a devil which clawed with determination to preserve a life that wasn’t in any real danger at all.  Now I sit surrounded by the gore of my own hand, a shell of my former self.  Bathed in the blood of my lover which now corrodes along with my soul; his decomposing body, reminding me of a fate worse than my own death and the agony of a crime I committed without intent.
The screech owls sing a haunting echo to the moonless night, a condemning question in my mind.  Whowho have I slain?  The awful smell surrounds me now…I want to escape, but it’s so dark I’m afraid to move.
Submission by Angel Elizabeth:
There are times in your life when caution plays a key role in decision making and this was one of those times.
I had been here before. I knew the terrors that awaited me should I make the wrong move. Take the wrong step. I was barefoot and alone. The thought of something squishing between my toes terrified me.

The slight breeze swirled the horrendous aroma from my nose but couldn't take it away completely.

Maybe if I waited. Maybe someone would rescue me or maybe it would get me too.

Hearing the faint sound of footsteps in the darkness I held my breath and awaited my fate.

The sound of a creaking doorknob slowly turning filled the silence as light quickly flooded the room.

"Honey, I brought you a light bulb. I know how much your son's room scares you."
Submission by Robbie Crego:
Between the darkness and the smell of mold, I tried not to panic...slowly trying to maintain my composer. I fumbled around the pitch blackness looking for some form of light. I could hear running water in the distance so I started to follow this noise thinking it may lead me to an opening. Not having any light...this was much more difficult than I thought.

I started tripping over what felt like boxes or maybe trunks. I paused for a few minutes thinking this might be it.

I started to open these boxes to hopefully try to find some tool that would help me get out of this creepy place. As I reached into the first box I felt old mildewed clothing. The next box was more like chest. It was locked.

Since the pitch black was a factor...I still followed the sound of running water. The sound started becoming louder and louder as I slowly made my way towards this sound.  How did I get here? Is this some kind of joke?
The ground I was crawling on was cold and wet and the smell...oh god the smell reminded me of a chicken slaughter house. I feel helpless...is this it? The way I check out of this world? I’m alone and cold, dry heaving from the smell.

Submission by Christi Anna:
I awoke with a quick jolt, my head snapping upright with surprise. The air reeked of rotten flesh and decay. Everything was so pitch-black that if not for the tiny thread of light streaming from beneath the door, I would have thought myself blind.

I tried to sit up straight, my back aching and stiff. My legs were also asleep and I wondered just how long I had been out. I covered my nose and sucked in a cold breath by mouth, my lungs aching from the frigid temperatures. But even in this arctic of climates, the aroma of death permeated the air as if it were mid-summer.

Slowly, my surroundings began to emerge. Shadows took shape, forming objects a few feet away, none of which I recognized, and all made eerier by the constant, drip, drip, drip echoing in my ears. I was so cold, wearing nothing but an old t-shirt and pair of panties which I could feel were draped around my ankles. Oh, God, where was I? Thoughts and scenarios played through my mind like a horror movie. This can’t be happening, not to me!

In the midst of my panic, all thought came to a sudden halt. Shuffling footsteps, a sigh of aggravation, the light beneath the door broken. Someone was just on the other side. I stopped breathing, listened hard, watching wide-eyed as the shadow paced back and forth. My heart pounded in my ears as I realized these had to be my last moments. No doubt I was about to meet the same demise as whatever else had died in this room. But worse was not knowing how or why I would die or at whose hands my death would come.

Suddenly, the door flew open and the room lit up in a flash of light! I shielded my eyes and squinted at the figure which now loomed over me angrily. Slowly, my eyes adjusted to the light and his disgruntled face became clear. He remained silent for a moment, and then asked, “Are you done?”

I sat up a little straighter and rubbed my eyes. “What?”

“Are you done?” he repeated.

Again, I asked with confusion, “What?”

He ran a frustrated hand down his face and sighed. “Honey, you fell asleep in the bathroom again. Flush and get out. I’m about to pee myself!”

Submission by Tish Boothe:
The smell of burning flesh was sickening. The floor was cold stone, and as unfamiliar as the heaviness of the clothing I wore. Where was I? My last thoughts before this room were of....... Professor Quinn's lab. He bundled me into a strange, heavy costume, told me to stand on the Dias, and hold my breath.
I began feeling around the floor for something, anything to defend myself with should I need it. The door flew open, the heaviness of it slamming against the stone wall. "Up ye lazy dogs!" she shouted in what I could only imagine was a British accent. The lamps were lit and she caught her breath. She fell into a curtsey. "My ladyship, pardon me for my outburst. I knew not that you were here,” she begged, real fear in her voice. "The master awaits you upstairs. Would you like me to take you?" 
What was happening? Who was the master? One way to find out. I gathered my courage and followed her up the stone steps. Every inch of the way, fear crawling on my skin. Through the kitchens, (burnt meats on the spit. The burning flesh.) Past the servant’s rooms, (I would later learn I had woken in the slaves' rooms, people who were in too much debt to pay their own way so they worked as slaves in his house for 2 years).
Through the castle I went following a servant, fear and dread flowing from every step. My luck just wasn't good enough to let me get through this without a scratch. I was going to be burned as a witch, a heretic, something. As we rounded the last corner, I felt I would pee myself for fear. Then I saw him.
My feet, of their own accord flew to him. "Henry!!" I cried as I threw my arms around him. "The machine worked."  He stated more than asked. "Yes. Professor Quinn found your notes and promised to destroy it after."  Henry and I were very happy knowing his time machine had helped us to change history, change our lives, and finally be together through all dangers. Love and technology conquered all.

Submission by Carissa Martin:
The room is hot, and stifling. I can't breathe for the stuffy heat. I stare at the door hoping that it will open soon, anything to ease this feeling like I’m burning alive. At once the door flies open, the air in the room stirs and with it the worst smell I have ever experienced. I can't even describe it. With the opening of the door comes the sweet release of a cool breeze, even though the air is rancid I take a deep cooling breath. Finally gathering my senses I look up at the person who has provided me with relief from this hot and stifling prison I’m in...

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