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."
(*stories are listed in the order they were posted.)
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?
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?”
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).