Flash Fiction Friday: Snowmen

Kathy rolled her eyes as Eric pulled on her arm, dragging her towards the snow-covered cemetery. Convinced that he could scare her, he had begged for weeks until she finally gave in.

She didn’t know what the big deal was, though. It’s not like there are any real ghosts or ghouls or things like that. It was just a place where you buried dead people. People who stayed dead. Eric was an idiot if he thought an old cemetery would scare her just because she was a girl.

They entered the gate and Kathy resisted the urge to giggle. Eric had made quite the effort. On top of every grave was an elaborate snowman–or rather, a snow zombie, “crawling” out of the dirt. Points for creativity, she thought, but not scary.

“Eric, just give it up. Yes, you made some pretty snow zombies. Very creepy. Oooh. Can we go back to the house now? It’s freezing out here.”

Eric didn’t respond, though. Rather, he had stopped in his tracks and was backing up slowly. “I didn’t make these,” he said, his eyes wide.

“Sure you didn’t,” Kathy said. “Let’s just go home. It’s not scary.”

Eric’s hand shook on her arm. He was putting on quite the show. “I didn’t make these,” he repeated quietly.

Kathy sighed, irritated, and wrenched her arm from Eric’s hand. “They’re just stupid snowmen. Watch.” She pulled back her foot and kicked at the nearest zombie, ready to undo Eric’s dirty work just to prove that she wasn’t frightened.

When the zombie grabbed her leg, she screamed.

Eric started to run, but he was so blinded by fear that he didn’t see the snow zombie around the corner of a large tombstone. Eric and Kathy’s screams echoed through the dark cemetery for ten minutes…then all was quiet once again.

Flash Fiction Friday: The Dot-Com Match

Mary’s forehead shone with sweat as she stared at her captor. She had no choice but to stare, after all. He had long since flayed the skin from her eyes, pulling the raw muscles of her lids back with rusted wire to hold her eyes open. At first, the streaming tears burned as they rolled down her face; now, there were no more tears to be had, as her eyes had dried up hours ago.

She wanted to scream. She tried to scream. All that came out, though, was a muffled groan.

He had stapled her mouth shut.

When he moved out of her line of sight she cringed. In the mirror directly across from her, she saw strips of skin hanging off her naked body. Barbed wire bound her arms, legs, and head to the chair she sat in. Rivulets of blood covered what was left of her skin.

His form slowly came back into view. He had walked a circle around her, examining his work. She looked into the eyes that she had once found so charming and now saw only a monster.

His online profile had seemed innocent enough. He was young, handsome, athletic…Mary was sure she had found a great catch. Little did she know what lay beneath the surface of those clear blue eyes and sculpted jaw line.

Though she had emptied her bladder earlier when she regained consciousness to see the scalpel aimed at her head, she once again felt the urge to urinate. She knew better, though; the first time, he had doused her mutilated body with salt water collected from the same ocean in which they had swam just hours before the terror began. Mary wasn’t about to make that mistake again. Salt had dried into her crusting wounds, causing fresh pain every time she shifted her weight. She tried not to move…a difficult task when she was being skinned alive, inch by agonizing inch.

Her captor—he had told her his name was Matt, but that could have been a lie—reached over to a table beyond her view and picked up something that sounded like metal. When he brought his arm forward, she saw the object: a large wrench.

This was it. This was the end. He was going to cave her head in, crush it like a melon.

At least the torture would be over.

A wild grin spread across his once-handsome face. He raised the wrench over his head…

…and, with a crack that echoed through the small basement, a hole opened in his forehead, dropping him to the ground.

Yes! she thought. Someone has come to rescue me!

Slowly, a male form came into view. At first, Mary could only see his back. She didn’t care what he looked like, though. All she cared about was freedom.

Then the man turned around.

Once again, she was staring into Matt’s face.

“So sorry,” the other-Matt said. “My twin is something of a psycho.” He reached to the table and picked up something. When Mary saw that it was a pair of wire cutters, her muscles relaxed. He was going to free her.

Other-Matt walked over, a friendly grin on his face. He cut the staples on her lips first.

“Thank you!” she gasped. “I was so scared, I—“

He put a finger to her lips. “Shh,” he said. “You need to save your voice.” He leaned in close, his lips brushing hers before he whispered in her ear. “You see, unlike my brother, I like to hear you scream.”

Flash Fiction Friday — Caroline

Caroline turned and glared at Jimmy. “This order isn’t right.”

Jimmy laughed. “Carrie, stop being paranoid.”

She looked at the plate again. On the surface, it looked like a normal meal. Spaghetti with a side of corn. Innocuous enough, but it just didn’t look “right.” It didn’t help that it had been served to her with the meatballs arranged in a grotesque smile, oozing bright red sauce. She knew it was silly, but her stomach churned regardless.

“Is that part of a fingernail?”

“It’s an onion. These restaurants actually put spices and flavors in their food, unlike the crap you make at home. Just eat it.”

“I don’t make crap. I get the expensive sauce; I just like it better with the chunks strained out.” Poking at a meatball with her fork, Caroline fought to keep from gagging. “Why did we come here, anyway? We have Italian at home all the time. We didn’t need to go out.”

With a sigh Jimmy slammed his glass down on the table, spilling a few drops of wine on the tablecloth. Caroline jumped and watched the stain spread. Why wasn’t it turning purple? Red wine stains turned purple; this was still blood red. Blood. Red. She shivered. Was that wine a little thicker than usual?

“You do this every damn Halloween, Carrie. Jesus, I can’t take you anywhere. Just eat the damn food and quit complaining. This place isn’t cheap, you know. I doubt they’d charge us thirty dollars a plate just to feed you junk.”

Shrinking back from his glare, Caroline set down her fork and put her hands in her lap. He was right. She shouldn’t be complaining. It was Halloween, and her boyfriend had brought her to a nice restaurant for her birthday. Maybe being born on Halloween had made her paranoid after all.

“I’m sorry, Jimmy. I’ll eat it.” She picked her fork back up and aimed for a meatball.

Before she could stab one, Jimmy gagged and grabbed his throat. Caroline screamed and watched with wide eyes as his face turned white, then red, then purple. Within seconds, Jimmy fell face first onto the table, splattering spaghetti sauce over the tablecloth.

“Waiter! Waiter! Someone come here, quick!” Caroline shouted. A spindly waiter appeared at her side, his apron askew.

“Oh, my! What seems to be the problem?”

She pointed at the table in disgust. “There is not one single body part in my meal. Is it too much to ask to get a little protein with this overpriced slop?”

The waiter flushed and reached for her plate with a shaking hand. “Terribly sorry, miss. An oversight on the chef’s part, I assure you.” He turned to Jimmy’s still form. “Would you like me to take away the other plate? Your companion seems to have finished.”

“Oh, he’s finished, all right,” she said. “Can you bring me another plate? Get the order right this time.”

“Of course, miss.”

Paranoid, indeed. She knew they’d gotten her order wrong.

Flash Fiction Friday–Winston’s Revenge

Beaming with excitement, I took my brand new Huggy Bear stuffed animal from my father. I had been begging for weeks to get one.

Huggy Bears were the bestest. They were teddy bears that hugged you back. Imagine that! A stuffie that gives you hugs. I loved hugs.

Daddy didn’t give many hugs. He was pretty busy with work and all. Mommy only hugged her special bottle. I wasn’t allowed to touch Mommy’s special bottle–or Mommy–but now I could get as many hugs as I wanted from Huggy Bear. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present.

I carried my Huggy Bear everywhere. I named him Winston, and Winston became my bestest friend. He wasn’t much of a talker–he didn’t talk at all, actually–but I didn’t care. I chattered on about my day and told him all the stories that were in my head. There were a bazillion stories swimming around in there, and Winston listened to all of them. Mommy usually told me to go away, and Daddy said he was listening but I knew it was just pretend; he never even looked up from his newspaper.

One day a week after I got Winston, I accidentally dropped Mommy’s dinner plate when I was setting the table for our Louisiana Baked Chicken dinner. Mommy got really mad. She even threw her special bottle at me; she missed, but I had to clean up the glass.

Then Mommy got scary. She screamed at me and took Winston from me. She blamed Winston for distracting me from my job of setting the table. I watched in horror as she pulled Winston’s head off. Mommy killed Winston!

I cried myself to sleep. Poor Winston.

The next morning, I woke to Daddy screaming. I tiptoed to their room, scared, and saw the strangest thing.

Winston’s head was back on. His neck was all red, but his head was back on, and he was hugging Mommy’s neck. Why was Daddy screaming? Winston was back and giving hugs again. He should have been happy.

Daddy rushed me back to my room and told me to stay put. After a while, I heard sirens and lots of people talking. When they left, Daddy opened my door and told me that Mommy had been really tired and had gone to sleep forever. I tried to reassure him that Winston would make her feel better with his hugs, but he didn’t listen. He never listened.

Daddy got mad at Winston. Just like Mommy, he ripped his head off, then he ripped off his arms. His arms! How was Winston supposed to hug now?

Two days passed. Daddy didn’t say a word, and I didn’t either. Who did I have to talk to? Winston was gone.

On the morning of the third day, Daddy didn’t wake me up for kindergarten. That was strange. I went to his room to check on him.

Winston was back, and he had given Daddy’s neck the biggest hug ever.

Flash Fiction Friday–“The Spider and the Fly”

The Spider and the Fly

by AJ Mullican

Richard strode up the walkway, rife with anticipation. The ad online had been enticing, and he couldn’t wait to meet the woman of his dreams.

As he drew nearer and more details of the house’s décor registered in his mind he thought, “This must be one freaky chick!”

The house was dark and could only be described as “gothic chic.” Black turrets and grey scrollwork accents stood out in the quiet suburban neighborhood. In place of a picket or chain link fence was a neat row of polished iron chains connected by iron stakes topped with fleur de lis.

When he reached the front steps, he was greeted by an ornately-carved front door with a stained glass window patterned after a spider’s web. In place of a light next to the door, spindly iron fingers extended from the wall and grasped a lifelike carving of a skull. Red light bulbs illuminated the empty skull, casting an eerie glow over the black widow carapace that, judging by the size and location, must be the doorbell.

Pressing the red hourglass, Richard heard a scream of ecstasy inside the house. He grinned, thinking to himself that any woman with that kind of a doorbell must indeed be just the kind of companion he was looking for.

Through the stained glass he saw the voluptuous silhouette of a tall, curvy woman approach the door. When the door opened, he was not disappointed.

Standing just under his six foot height in her stiletto heels, the woman from the ad was everything he could have hoped for. Not too skinny, not too fat—just enough curves to look delicious. She answered the door in a racy negligee, its black leather straps matching the pattern in the stained glass, and he could see long nail caps on the ends of each of her delicate fingers, adding to the dramatic look. The ensemble was accented with carefully-applied spiderweb eyeliner on her upper lids.

“You must be Richard Fly,” she purred, her voice both soft and husky. “Welcome to my web.”

Richard smiled and stepped inside the door. As she closed it behind him, he removed his hat and trench coat. The woman turned back to him and screamed in terror.

She was even more stunning when viewed with all eight of his eyes. He grabbed her waist with two of his arms, pulling her in closer. Two more arms restrained her struggling arms, and the last pair caressed her cheeks.

“And you must be Ariadne. Pleasure to eat you.”