I’m so happy that fall and especially that Halloween has arrived! In honor of which, Poised Pen Productions is hosting a flash fiction giveaway with a prize filled with books, gift cards, and swag. Last time I shared my short story, Haunting Beauty. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share the other stories, all less than 700 words, with you for your Halloween enjoyment! Look for two each week with the final story posting on Halloween itself.
You can enter the giveaway simply by signing up with your email, and you’ll be given options for earning additional entries. Good luck!
© Jolie St. Amant
Chateau Rouge Hotel
Alcide sipped a whiskey neat as he watched the brainless creature attack an unfortunate human, tearing out his innards like a kid opening a Christmas present.
“Zombies,” he scoffed, rolling his eyes. How they had bastardized the term over the centuries. Oh, there were zombies, the word actually derived from the Haitian word zonbi. A reanimated human corpse.
He pressed a button on the remote, changing the channel. He had seen enough. Brainless? Alcide spoke four languages fluently, including the old language. Latin.
Flesh-eating? Now that part was true. To survive Alcide had to eat flesh. From humans? The thought turned his stomach. Some of his kind did, but he did not. Modern humans put too many chemicals in their bodies these days. Nicotine, prescription drugs, processed foods, the very thought of it turned his stomach.
If he was hard pressed and had to find a human, he preferred a vegetarian. Most times he enjoyed a good rare steak, or sushi. All farm fresh. And organic, of course.
Alcide often strolled the dark streets of the Quarter, watching the underbelly of the town scamper home from late nights of debauchery. However, two weeks ago, he had found a tasty looking morsel. He’d spent several evenings stalking his prey, making sure his potential meal would be everything he was wanting. So he waited. And watched. For the stalking and anticipation was half the fun.
He looked down at his watch. It was time.
He finished his drink and stood, stretching his 6’4” frame. Time to go out and do what he did best. Hunt.
I got home tired after a long day’s work and ready for a relaxing night alone. I reached for the light switch, but another hand was already there. I turned my head slowly to the side.
It was him.
I had seen him at night watching me from the murky shadows of the French Quarter as I walked home from my job as a bartender on Bourbon Street. I had noticed him at first because his long black coat was so out of place for such a humid night. It was old-fashioned and elegant, and something you would see at the fancy restaurants or in dining rooms in the Garden District mansions. I wondered if he was an actor, or a tour guide for one of the many ghost tours that trekked through the Quarter every night. Any of these were possible, it was New Orleans after all.
When he got close enough for me to see his eyes, I was mesmerized. They were a deep, amber color that seemed to almost glow in the dark. And they were focused on me, boring into me with an intensity that made me feel both exhilarated and uncomfortable at the same time.
I had tried to shake him a few times, but he always seemed to be there, a few steps behind me, watching. It was like he was stalking me.
Two nights ago, he had finally caught up to me. I turned to face him, and he stepped out of the shadows into the dim light of the street lamp. He was tall, at least a head taller than me, with broad shoulders and a slim waist. He was wearing the same black coat, and I could see a white shirt and black pants underneath. He looked like he had stepped out of another time.
“Olivia,” he said in a voice that was both smooth and rough at the same time. It was a voice that sent a shiver down my spine. His accent was soft, and hinted at time spent in Europe. How he knew my name, I had no clue.
“Who are you?” I asked, not really expecting an answer.
But he gave me one. “My name is Alcide.” He reached out and brushed a stray hair from my face, his fingers lingering on my cheek for a moment longer than necessary. “And I’m here for you, ma cher.” He had disappeared after that, leaving nothing but the cold feel of his hand on my face.
Now, in my apartment, his hand moved from mine. He covered his lips with one finger, motioning for me to be silent.
The hunt was over.
A Simple Mistake
© Sherrie Lea Morgan
I made popcorn, whistling a tune from long ago. Setting it aside, I paused as the sky blasted white from a lightning bolt. I grinned and headed down the hall toward the guest room. The sounds of the girl’s giggles interspersed with the storm raging outside. It’s a good night for a movie. I pushed open the door and gasped. What the hell? My twin nieces jumped up and jostled to hide the Ouija board sitting on the floor. My heart pounded against my ribs as I chewed them out for playing with such a thing. Both chimed in simultaneously, saying they’d only started playing. That is before I interrupted them.
With my heart pounding against my ribs, I demanded they tell me what they had done. Both agreed they’d only asked if anyone was around, their name, and got a response. They both promised. Only once did they say hello. Although I never touched a Ouija board, I’d heard the horror stories and shuddered. I scolded both and ordered them to bed. No popcorn movie night now. Grabbing the board and its guide, I rushed downstairs and tossed them into the fireplace. Then I stood watching the flames eat the wicked thing.
As soon as I dropped the girls off at school the next day, I found a local metaphysical shop and asked to see a psychic. We sat in a small room covered in bright-colored scarves and painted pictures of angels. I told her what the girls did last night and asked if there was any reason to worry. Her face paled, and she swallowed several times before responding.
“As long as they didn’t ask the entity’s name,” she said.
“But they did,” I said.
She frowned. “Well, it might still be okay, as long as they didn’t respond.”
“But, they did,” I said, my voice rising along with the speed of my pulse.
She raised her hand and rubbed her temple.
“There’s a good chance they invited the thing into your home by responding. But we could fix it.”
“How? The girls are innocent, and I need to protect them.”
She stood and gathered some herbs from her shelf, along with a small bottle of water. “This is rainwater, she told me. Blend the herbs in the water and pour it on the board within twenty-four hours.” She wrote feverishly on a piece of paper, then handed it to me. “You’ll need to recite these words as you do so. It’ll prevent the spirit from coming—well, staying at your home.”
“After you’re done, you must bury it somewhere. Not on your property,” she warned. “As far away as possible.”
“Can’t I just burn it?” My stomach clenched, waiting on her response.
“No, no,” she whispered. “Don’t burn it, especially in your house.”
She leaned forward and whispered, “If you burned it, then it would force the entity to remain in the spot of the fire. The board is a portal, and burning it would lock it closed. It couldn’t go home.” She paused a moment, then continued. “That would be the worst thing to do as you’d be trapping it, and entities didn’t like getting trapped. They get angry and search for ways to get revenge. Some even latch onto people for the rest of their lives.”
“I understand.” Boy, did I understand. I didn’t like it one bit, and frowning, I left.
That night, I sat before the fireplace. I’d miss the twins’ monthly visits, but it was too late. I poured a glass of wine and waited. A bubbling laugh forced its way past my lips. As the fire crackled, I laughed…and laughed.
That’s your two for this week, The Hunt and A Simple Mistake. Each week brings a new spooky tale. What will next week bring?
P.S. If you haven’t already, please consider signing up for my newsletter, which I send out most every month, including news like new covers, new releases, and upcoming appearances where I love to meet my readers, along with recipes and writing progress. Thanks and happy reading!
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Did you know… You can order signed paperbacks of any of my books at The Snail on the Wall book store!
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Her love puts a song in his heart…
Paulette O’Connell is determined to provide for her unborn child. She has few skills and nowhere to call home except Twin Oaks plantation. Paulette accidentally summons her grandfather’s annoying ghost but he won’t leave until she figures out why she needs him.
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