I’m continuing sharing more flash fiction with you all! In honor of Halloween, Poised Pen Productions is hosting a flash fiction giveaway with a prize filled with books, gift cards, and swag. If you missed it, I already shared my short story, Haunting Beauty. Last week, I shared both The Hunt and A Simple Mistake. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share a few more 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!
© CJ Bennet
Years ago, I had a best friend who kept telling me that he had a ghost in his carriage house efficiency apartment. The apartment was connected to a screened-in porch that was as big as the apartment itself.
Even though I had experience with that, I chose to tease him about it because I knew he had a great sense of humor. My friend told me that he believed the ghost was a former slave named Fred. He told me he had seen the ghost while shaving. “I almost cut my own throat when I saw him behind me in the mirror.” He had talked to the ghost when he woke up one night to find it standing on his chest. He told the ghost he couldn’t breathe, so would the ghost please get off his chest. He felt the boots when the ghost moved to step off the bed. He said he could actually see the boots and saw the mattress move as it stepped off his chest and got down on the floor. I still told him I didn’t believe him. That was until I had my own experience with the ghost.
My friend was going to a three-week conference in California, and had asked me to get his mail and water his plants while he was gone. I was happy to help, until the second week in. I’d gotten the mail, and went inside to water his plants. I’d left his mahogany front door open and turned on his radio while I was working. Suddenly… The radio cut off, which was not unusual in the seventies. I turned around in time to see the 200-pound door close all by itself. That was when I realized what was happening. I was terrified, but I knew it was my friend’s ghost, and I needed to talk with it.
I said, “Okay. I know you’re here. I am very sorry that I told Ted I didn’t believe you were here. Ted believes you were a slave. If so, I am very sorry you had such a hard life. I swear that from now on I will never say you don’t exist, if you let me out of here.”
The radio came back on, and the door opened back up. I grabbed my purse, the mail and my keys, then left that place like a bat out of hell.
When I picked up my friend at the airport 10 days later, he asked me how things had gone. I told him I had all of his mail, but his plants might be dead. When he asked me why, I told him what happened. He laughed for the next fifteen minutes.
After that, we had quite a few things happen when I was there, but we knew who it was, and it never bothered us. The ghost would frequently knock on the windows, or pound on the front door, which wasn’t possible because the carriage house was on the second floor above the garage, and the screen door to the porch was always locked, so no one could have come up the stairs, and through the screen door without us hearing them
I learned to never question the presence of a ghost or entity. If you feel or see something out of the ordinary, take it seriously. That belief has served me well over the years.
The Witch’s Wand
© Tessa Russ
While Jess was shopping at her favorite thrift store, she noticed the old witch statue in the corner. It sat by itself, surrounded by dust and cobwebs. The witch’s eyes were closed, and her mouth hinged open in an anguished expression. Jess thought maybe it could be just a prop for a Halloween display, but there was something about it that felt off. It looked real—like it had been made from flesh-like material and exquisitely painted. But despite the creepiness of it, she was somehow drawn to the thing. She bought it and brought it home to add to her Halloween decorations.
A few days later, as she decorated for her favorite season, words broke the silence. “He’s coming for you.”
Startled, she jumped back and screamed. “What? Who said that? Who is he?” Jess had no man in her life.
The statue she had named Helga answered: “Beware, my darling, you rescued me, now I’m going to save you.”
Surely Jess must be hallucinating. Maybe she needed to quit watching all those creepy movies before bedtime. A statue couldn’t speak, could it? But then again, some pretty strange things had happened to her lately…
Jess woke up in a cold sweat. He had invaded her dreams.
Was it really a dream?
“My darling, I am coming for you soon.” Who was this man? She shuddered, she had been seeing him almost nightly in her dreams since she brought Helga home. He seemed so real to her. In her far too realistic dreams, he stood outside her door in a raging thunderstorm with the rain pelting down and illuminated by the lightning piercing the turbulent sky. Even though he appeared as a shadow in the fog, she could see his handsome chiseled features clearly. She had no clue how that was possible. Could this be the man Helga tried to warn her about?
With a shake of her head, Jess laughed at herself. What a crazy thought. She shook the remaining sleep-induced fog from her head and stumbled out of bed to get her morning coffee started. Hopefully, a shot of caffeine would help erase the tumultuous nightmare from her mind.
After finishing up her freelance marketing projects for the day, Jess took a quick trip to the store and ran a few other errands. When she arrived back home later that evening, all was still silent from Helga. Thank goodness. Time to cozy up with a cup of tea and the new mystery novel she had been wanting to read before calling it a night. After all, tomorrow was her favorite day of the year and she wanted to be ready.
Jess woke with an uneasiness that she couldn’t explain. She should feel great. After all, this was her favorite time of the year. Her decorations were up and ready to enchant the little trick or treaters that always lined up outside her door. She loved seeing their costumes and remarked on every one of them which put a smile on their faces before they trotted off down the street to the next house.
Somehow, she had a feeling this night would be different. Was it Helga’s warnings that caused her feelings of anxiety? No, it couldn’t be. She didn’t really believe any of it could possibly be true. And who would believe in a talking witch statue. Maybe she was just losing her mind. Maybe that had been a dream too.
Jess sat down at her desk to begin her workday. She took a glance over at Helga, who had been quiet for a few days. Almost like she could read Jess’s thoughts, Helga spoke; “Tonight’s the night, my dear. Please don’t be afraid. I will protect you from his evil magic.”
“Please tell me what’s going to happen,” Jess pleaded, feeling a little desperate.
“You will know what to do when the time is at hand,” Helga responded, then fell silent just as abruptly.
Okay, now that was no dream.
At this point, Jess began doubting her sanity. She tried to put her thoughts back into her work, but it was no use. She couldn’t concentrate. Instead, she paced for a while. Studied Helga. Walked around her, hoping the witch might speak again but she didn’t. Probably because you are losing your mind.
Enough. She had to focus on something else. She decided to check out her Halloween decorations one last time. Before long it would be dark and the little ghosts and ghouls would be out and about. She had a display in her office as well as one outside on the front porch. Her office display held Helga, pumpkins, ghosts, goblins, and other things she had picked up over the years.
Her gaze snapped back to Helga. There was something different at her feet. It looked like a wand of some sort, kinda Harry Potter-ish. Where the heck did that come from? She didn’t recall purchasing it. As she stepped closer to pick it up, she felt an electricity in the air. Sparks started radiating from it. Jess jumped away.
Helga’s red eyes opened again. “Not now, my dear. You will know when the time is right.” Then her eyes closed, and she appeared lifeless once more.
Jess decided maybe work was safer for the moment. She really, really had to figure out if she was losing it or…what? She just didn’t know.
As the day wound down, Jess looked forward to the activities ahead. She dressed in her Halloween costume to await the arrival of the trick or treaters. She studied her reflection in the mirror. What a coincidence that she chose to be a good witch this year.
But it was not to be. As the sun waned on the western horizon and night approached, the sky opened up. It was a storm she had never seen the likes of before.
She had been avoiding Helga in fear of more spooky predictions. But now it was time for answers. Bummed that her well planned Halloween wouldn’t happen, she made her way down the stairs to her office.
“Helga, talk to me. No more of your vague, dire predictions. I want to know what’s happening.”
Helga sprang to life and answered, “Tonight is the night I’ve been warning you about. Listen to me closely.”
Helga spoke with Jess for quite a while, telling her all about how she had been cursed by an evil sorcerer because he was afraid of her powers. The witch had been stuck inside this statue ever since, unable to move or talk until someone found her who had the power to help break the curse. She also told Jess about how her lover, HE remained stuck just on the other side of the veil until the curse lifted. Jess was at a loss. Why would Helga think she could help break the ancient curse? What part did she play in all of this? She had no magical powers.
The witch and the sorcerer stood face to face; their eyes locked. Thunder rolled in the distance as lightning lashed down from the sky. The witch took a deep breath, her body shaking with anticipation. She could feel her magic coursing through her veins like a raging river. She was ready for this fight—and knew she would be victorious! She had to be.
Jess watched in silent horror as the fight raged on for what seemed like hours, the old witch became weak. She must continue the fight, mustn’t allow him to win this time. With the vestiges of her strength, she attempted one final time to banish the sorcerer back to dust. If she could just hold out for a minute longer, but no, she couldn’t muster the strength needed…. “It is time, my dear.” With that, the wand flew from Helga’s hand into Jess’s. She didn’t know why or how, but she was ready for battle. She took the wand and wielded it high. One push, two… she felt the sorcerer grow weaker. An otherworldly power coursed through her veins, and with a final push of the wand, the sorcerer disappeared into a cloud of dust.
Lying on the rain-soaked ground, a weakened Helga looked to Jess and pointed into the mist. “We must get him; we must get HE while the veil is still thin enough to reach him.”
Looking in that direction, Jess could see him standing in front of her. It was like looking through a fog. Helga reached and stretched, but she didn’t have the strength to pull him through. Without a thought as to what she was doing, Jess grabbed Helga’s hand in one of hers and with the other, using the last of the power remaining in the wand, she tapped the veil, cracking it. Still grasping Helga’s hand, Jess dropped the wand and reached through the broken veil. Grabbing HE’s hand, she somehow pulled him through to their side.
Terrified and exhausted, Jess kept trying to wake up from this hellish nightmare she was caught in. But no, there was no waking up. It was real. As she tried to put everything together in her mind, she glanced at Helga. Right before Jess’s eyes, Helga transformed. Instead of the old broken witch standing there a moment ago, a beautiful goddess stood strong and tall. Her long red hair streamed down her shoulders and the tired red eyes had turned a vibrant shade of green. As HE walked toward Helga, he took her hands and kissed her softly on the lips.
Then HE slowly turned toward Jess. “We know you have questions and some of them we can answer. The rest will come to you in time.”
Helga smiled and said, “You won’t remember this now, but you are one of us. When the time is right, all that you need to know will be revealed. Until then, keep living your life. The time will soon come that you must make a decision that will change your life forever.”
With a final goodbye Helga and HE faded away into the mist. In the night’s stillness, Jess could hear them faintly whisper; “We will see you again soon, my dear.”
That’s your two for this week, Ghostly Contact and The Witch’s Wand. Two more coming next week, before the final installment on Halloween itself!
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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.
Zak Markel is desperate to create an alchemical elixir to save his brother’s eyesight. Only, captivating Paulette distracts him at the worst possible time. While Zak longs for Paulette to give him a chance, she is determined to stand on her own, even before her child’s father returns. Can Zak convince Paulette to follow her heart before it’s too late?