Morte Mare

Written by Alex McCarron


There’s a pool way out on the moor, as deep as you ever did see. And there’s a lady who lives in that pool, and she’ll come out if you ask kindly.

“Please won’t you come out, please can’t I see—” She’ll rise up, her face like a shadow on the water at night, for it’s all dark depths and deep, hidden teeth. Her name’s Lizzie Jack, and she once was a girl, a girl twice your age and three times as pretty.

Plump and fair our Lizzie was, with slim hands, long fingers, and such strong white teeth. She used to work spells and she used to bring children all alone to the moor at night. She rocked them and spun them, and sucked the life from them, and drowned them in the pool at night.

Now Lizzie had a sister; a sister who followed her to see what she did at night. She saw Lizzie lift the bones from the pool. She saw Lizzie crack them and suck them, and lick the marrow from her sharp white teeth.

With every bone she sucked, and every life she took, Lizzie grew fairer, and far fairer still. She grew fat and full, like a billowing cloud, and her hunger grew with her. Day and night her teeth ground in her mouth, ripping her own cheeks and tongue. She longed for meat. The bones called her back.

Her sister watched, and her sister followed her. She couldn’t believe it, but she could stand it no longer, so she pushed Lizzie into that pool. How Lizzie screamed, how she fought, clawing her own fingers to the bone. And how long her sister held her there, long after she’d breathed in the black water. She drowned Lizzie in that pool in the moonlight.

Night after night she came back to see Lizzie at the bottom of the pool. Lizzie cried and cried, and said, “Sister, sister, I’m rotting away, and the children all hate me. Sister, oh, sister, their bones hate me so.”

Now her sister loved her, though she was a witch and a murderer. With her own hands she drew Lizzie’s face up from the water. She kissed her wet and crumbling forehead.

“I bind you to these waters,” she said. “I bind you to these bones. I bind your lips so you will not speak. But if anyone is a fool enough to come here, let them rot in the water with you. I’ll not leave you alone.”

Her sister knew a witch’s words; her sister had a witch’s power. Lizzie sank down, gnashing her teeth.

Lizzie’s sister returned every night to talk with her beneath the water. She grew old, with a handsome husband and a house full of children. Far and wide she spread their story, so nobody would go near the pool but her. But one day she set out early, striding tall in the mist of the moor, and she did not come back.

Her children searched for her, we all searched for her, calling long into the night. We found her, but late, much too late. She’d fallen and split her head on a stone. We buried her where she lay, for what the moor takes it must keep; so her blood seeped into the earth and her bones sank until they lay buried in the roots of the hills.

But Lizzie still waits, for nobody’s told her that her sister has died, and nobody ever will.

If you go to that pool, and if she rises up, don’t look in her eyes, but look at her hands and her teeth. Lizzie’s hands are scabbed and twisted. Her teeth are broken and bloody and ready for your throat – for she is so hungry, and so lonely, with only the bones rattling beneath her, night after night after night.

If you look in her eyes, you’ll see the beauty she once was, fat and full as a cloud, gathering little children into her arms. You will jump into her arms, and Lizzie will carry you down to the dark depths and the feast among her bones.

There’s a pool way out on the moor, as deep as you ever did see. And there’s a lady who lives in that pool, and she’ll come out if you ask kindly.


Inspired by the classic ghost story, returning contributor Alex McCarron has written such a creepy tale. The black water has seeped through and into Lizzie’s spectral figure. We can’t get enough of this terrifying pre-Halloween treat, hiding under our blankets and pillows, just hoping to avoid the gaze of Lizzie and her sharp teeth. If you enjoyed Alex’s short horror story, make sure to read her other supernatural tale published earlier this year, “Jenny of the Road”. 

Featured Image Courtesy // Fatal Frame, Nintendo

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Fiction Frenzy Winner – Freezing Nightingale

Written by Lynx Firenze


It’s been four days since I was thrown in this well. The woman who left me in here promised she’d bring me some food in a week, if I survive that long, but I’m partially submerged in freezing salt water, up to my chest, and I can’t sleep for fear of slipping and drowning. The only means I have of telling the time are the shadows cast by thin rays of sunlight I catch a glimpse of every now and then.

As the cover is removed and more freezing water is poured on me, which is my only source of hydration, I think someone or something must be adding more salt to the water I’m submerged within. The addition of fresh water is masked by this strange sea salt. A sudden shiver runs through me though it’s a reassurance more than anything – the end stages of hypothermia have yet to reach me.

To stave off the inevitability, I start to fidget and flex my muscles as best I can in the confined space. Wasting my strength is, perhaps, needless but I don’t know how long I can last before my blood starts to clot or freeze. I don’t know what that woman wants from me but, unless it’s my corpse, she’d best let me out of here soon.

Death is close, I fear. No sunlight. It’s probably night-time. I hear the sound of a heavy metal bucket being placed on the edge of the well and tilt my head back, mouth open and hands cupped to capture as much of the precious liquid as I possibly can. A torrent of warm water with a slightly metallic tang washes over me and I blindly guzzle it down, meekly hoping that if it’s poison it finishes me off quickly. The flow stops and I whimper, partly out of shame at what I’ve been reduced to, and partly because it once gained me another cupful or so of water. The cover closes, leaving me in total darkness again, and I drink the remaining liquid I’ve caught in my hands.

There’s a faint blue light coming from the water underneath me, but I don’t believe it’s anything more than a hallucination. For all I can tell, I’m probably suffering from advanced hypothermia. A faint singing accompanies the light and I smile. Feeling warmer with this voice around somehow, my own lips purse ready to join in with the woman’s song. Her song – strangely – seems to lift as I join, as though she’s happy that I want to sing with her. Thoughts of hypothermia vanished, nothing seems to cloud my voice, as I focus on the sound of hers; fillling me up and lifting my mind from its present cage.

But as all things come to an end, so does the song, with her voice fading away, leaving me in the cold darkness once again.

“She’s in here,” a woman’s voice floats down to me, the one who put me in here.

“A disused well, is that safe?” Another voice joins; I believe it’s the woman who sang. “Seems dangerous to me. Mortals are so fragile.”

“She’s either dead and unworthy or alive and determined. Or she’s just lost her mind.”

“I don’t find that particularly reassuring Juno.”

“Well, you said to test her.” The cover comes off and I can see stars, cold moonlight illuminating the area around me.

“I meant her supposed abilities as a singer, not her ability to survive in a disused well for a week.”

“Well, maybe if you were more clear…”

A teenage goth, the likes of whom populated my concerts since the start, leans over the well. “She’s alive, so that’s a start,” shrugging her shoulders. “Come on Nightingale, sing for your supper,” she laughs, cruel and bitter.

Nightingale… Is that my name? I think it is, or at least it’s my stage persona, why do they want to hear me sing though? The thought crosses my mind that perhaps she’s just an overzealous fan who saw Misery one too many times and got ideas.
“W-Why?” I croak after several attempts, forcing the words from cracked and bleeding lips. No tears come when I try to cry, just pitiful wheezing sobs.

“She’s too thirsty to sing. Give her a drink,” the singer said.

“Are you going to pay for it?”

“Just add it to my tab, I’ll work it off later since I know that’s all you want.”

I hear the sound of laughter and a firm slap; a minute later a hose appears over the edge of the well and a steady stream of water spills in. I drink it gratefully.

“Whenever you’re ready, honey.” A second woman appears over the edge of the well, almost albino in her complexion.

After a moment of silence, filled with resentment and tears, I force my swollen tongue to obey; singing a melancholy song about a girl lost in her memories as she wallows in a dark dungeon. The song ends by implying that she dies alone and unloved in the cold darkness of her cell – I hope the irony isn’t lost on them.

“That was beautiful,” the albino sighs.

The goth is silent for a moment then she shakes her head, “I should teach Darla to sing,” she says, “do you think she could do it?”

“Darla? Sure, loan her to me for a few weeks and I’ll have her singing like an angel for you.”

“And then when she divulged all of my secrets?”

“I’d ask her why she was telling me about your operation when she should be practising. You can keep Nightingale for a while longer if it’ll make you feel better in the meantime.”

“Please don’t leave me down here,” I whimper involuntarily, “I’ll die.” My voice seems pathetically small, like a child begging the monsters under her bed to leave her alone.

“Will she?” the albino turned to the goth.

“Probably. Chances are she’s suffering from deep hypothermia, she won’t have slept, she only drinks as much as she can catch, and she hasn’t eaten unless you count the blood I tossed her last night for a joke.”

Blood? Surely, I would have noticed. “You never fed me blood,” I say with false bravado.

“Yes, I did, you’re covered in it.” The goth laughs and drops a compact mirror into the well. I catch it and flick it open, a pale blue light illuminates me and I drop the mirror in shock, my face and breasts are caked in a deep crimson crust. Gurgling a scream, new tears burst from my eyes with accompanying wails.

“Juno, that was just cruel, you’ve needlessly traumatised her.”

“I’ve taught her to respect her betters,” the goth corrects. “If she behaves herself from now on she has nothing to worry about, but if she doesn’t she’ll be back in there. Whenever she feels like disobeying or causing trouble then a part of her is going to remember how she feels right now.”

“It was unnecessary. Haven’t you ever heard of a blood bond?”

“So I did it because I’m a sadist, sue me.”

“Just throw her a rope.”

Through my tears I vaguely make out the shape of a rope as it’s thrown down to me, a loop tied at one end to make a foothold.

“Nightingale, sweetheart,” the albino’s voice takes on a honeyed edge. “Come out like a good girl and we’ll only keep you for a week, there’s towels and food and a blanket up here for you…” There’s a familiar warmth to her words, “And I promise not to let Juno do anything this horrible to you again.”

“Like I said, so long as she behaves.”

I hesitate then try to slip my boot into the loop, but I miss. “I can’t get my foot in the hole,” I whimper after four attempts; expecting another bucket of blood or, worse, the well cover sliding back into place.

“Big surprise, hang on,” the goth retracts the rope and drops it back down with a lassoed knot. “There, just loop that around your waist and hold on.”

I obey silently and she effortlessly pulls me out one-handed, I wonder if it’s because of a pulley system I can’t see, or she’s just freakishly strong.

It’s almost as dark outside the well as in it, the only illumination being the headlights of a black sedan parked nearby with the boot popped. I shiver again.

“She’ll live,” the goth says dismissively. “Dry her off and stick her in the boot, I’ll drive.”

“Don’t mind her,” the albino wraps a towel around my shoulders and starts to gently dry me with the other. “She isn’t as bad as she seems. There’s food and blankets in the boot for you.”

“OK,” I sigh weakly, not wanting to be put back into that freezing darkness. “Just please don’t hurt me, I don’t want to die.”

“Do as you’re told and you’ll be fine. But if Juno gets pissed off, stay out of her way, she’ll be nicer to you the more submissive you are so if you’re in any trouble with her just beg and call her Mistress a lot. She liked your song by the way, not that she’ll ever admit it. Lay down though, I don’t want the boot to hit your head.”

I obediently lay as flat as I can and she closes the boot, sealing me in. The engine of the sedan roars into life and pulls away at high speed, taking me away from the life I loved and into the waiting darkness of the future.


After running the Fiction Frenzy between July 1 and August 31, we received various entries and all of which were superb. In the end, the winning entry was one which was both strangely comical and enticing. Written by the newest member of our writing forum, Lynx Firenze has pieced together an interesting tale, blending vampires and the supernatural with humanity. Given us the chills just by wondering what’s in store for this poor young Nightingale, we hope she gets out alive. If you enjoyed Lynx’s work, please consider leaving a like or comment below. 

Featured Image CC // Dilip

 

Mulberry Way

Written by Lockmaker


She would not turn to them. And while she spoke to them, softly and slowly, she would not turn. They’d arrived a little after nine. Seven months filtered down to this. She sat hunched in a chair towards the window, watching the grey skies and the rain trickle down the glass.

“Perhaps I was a fool.” Her voice whispered to them. “Perhaps you should have never come.”

“Catherine, this is a chance to tell your side of the story.”

Catherine Green, reveals all. The headlines would be bold, brash and bloody. People would ask for his autograph. The fearless reporter willing to do what no other would. The genius who revealed all.

The recorder lay beside him on a table. The orderly had brought tea and left them alone in the mint coloured room.

“There was once a girl who believed she had cancer, so she took a knife from the kitchen cabinet and stabbed her husband seventeen times.”

Catherine chuckled at the thought of her infamous story, while the journalist watched her with his fingers laced under his chin. The jury had not believed her pleas of sanity; there was never a lump, never a young doctor, nor any proof of her appointment. A deranged woman who’d languished for nearly two decades within the walls of the mental unit chosen for her. Since her imprisonment there had been no signs of a relapse, nothing to suggest mental illness and yet the doctors’ reports complained of her unwillingness to accept reality.

“What’s your story?”

“We can never go back. Do you understand?” Her hand was papery and dwarfed by his own. Catherine was once a beauty, but it had faded now – cheeks gaunt and eyes watery, she turned away from him, a sigh caught in her throat.

“Catherine, I’m here to let people know your story.” He was here for promotions, cars and money but she still smiled and thanked him before clearing her throat.

“I awoke alone.”

“This was after the doctor’s office?”

“Yes. He was such a handsome man, though I never saw him again. I remember there was a light above me, it was swinging you see, casting shadows on the far wall.” She ran her fingers through brittle hair before reaching for the glass of water left on the side.

“I didn’t see him at first.”

“Who?”

“He called himself Wednesday. Such a handsome man. Such a gentle voice.”

“Wednesday, you refer to him as the umbrella man?”

“It was a black one; he would lean on it as he spoke.” Her voice lowered in a mockery of an English gentleman. “Call me Wednesday sunshine. It’s not my name but call me it all the same sunshine,” she laughed to herself before turning towards him, her voice regaining the gentle, soft quality he expected of her. “Do you wish to find him?”

The journalist blinked at her suggestion as her hand touched his own. Her face furrowed and she drew a tongue across her chapped lips.

“I advise you to leave. Drive away. Find a pretty girl and marry her. Don’t stir the hornet’s nest. When you know of him, he knows of you.” Her voice had become a harsh whisper, her eyes fixed with his own. Her nails dug into his skin.

“Catherine,” he took on the voice he used with all clients, one to reassure and coerce the story from them. “Please, this is for you. A chance to tell your story.”

“Bah.” She moved away from him, crossing her arms. “This is for you and your bank account. Don’t think I don’t know. You know, I was imagining rape or death but the doctor only spoke to me.”

“What about?”

“Truths,” she hissed the word and tapped the side of her chair. “He will show you hell for his own amusement. He spoke of so many others but wouldn’t let me see them. Once, he threw a tea party and fed me. But what did he feed me? To be honest, I didn’t dare ask. I kept finding hairs, red ones, soft like a child’s.” She turned away her eyes down as she shook her head. “ But I would never ask about what he gave me or what he called his failures.” The mock accent returned as she tilted her head back.

“I judge you dull.” Bringing her hand to her eyes she wiped away a phantom tear, her voice pleading as she spoke again. “So many names, he’d tell me them again and again, all failures. All unwilling to do what must be done. I was his play thing and he made me kill Thomas.

“I loved Thomas in a way, I married him after all and yet I wanted to survive so badly. Though he said I was becoming dull, so I amused him the only way left to me. I killed Thomas to amuse him.”

“What happened to you?” The words left the reporter almost as a prayer. He didn’t believe half of her story, he’d done the research.

Catherine Green had called into work, then spent an hour in the bathroom before walking to the kitchen, grabbing a kitchen knife, and stabbing her husband seventeen times in the chest. The police found her with the knife in her hand, whispering to herself about proving herself “worthy”.

“I was broken.” She stood with a great effort before moving closer to the window
“He instructed me.” Lifting her sleeve he saw the crisscross of wounds, they glared at him in pale lines. “Look for him and he will find you.”

“Why did he find you?” The reporter asked as Catherine let her sleeve fall and placed a hand on the window.

“I needed to learn. I never considered my worth beyond breasts and a pretty face. Life is so beautiful.”

Catherine dissolved into madness then, screaming and yelling, before the orderlies sedated her. It was clear he wouldn’t get clarification today. Pulling out of the hospital car park he reflected.

The case of Catherine Green had shocked the world of 1995; she was beautiful, white and blonde. She’d seemed so stunned and confused in those early pictures that people still doubted she was a real killer. The Rettendon murders, had taken her off the map, three drug dealers a far juicier story for those wishing to complain about the state of society. And yet something about a beautiful young woman driven to murder would always inspire people, including himself.

While driving, he formed the structure to his article: human nature versus the supernatural “hidden” killer. Paramurders would take it – a terrible magazine for aging housewives who believed in every new age trend. But he still wished to write the true hard-hitting stories of murderers and serial killers. Not stories about men with umbrellas.

It took him two hours to return to the office. Sitting down he felt his eyes glaze over, he’d wanted so much more out of Catherine Green. He didn’t want to work for the Sunday Reporter for much longer; freelance work allowed him a chance to earn more and yet he only needed one great story to propel him to the heights of journalistic stardom.

Catherine Green was meant to be such a chance and she had proven to be as mad as a hatter. He let his head sink as he opened his emails, wondering what wonderful words of wisdom his boss could provide.

Sifting through his emails quickly, the journalist stumbled upon an interesting find – an email from Catherine Green’s hospital.

Hear of me I know you. Speak of me and you will find. Search for me and I will come. I have looked into you and I find you dull. I will not play with such a thing long but I will play if you so wish.

He stared at the email before him and was chilled to the bone. Perhaps it was a joke, perhaps it wasn’t. But he knew one thing for certain, the truth of the umbrella man was now within his grasp.


A chilling tale, Mulberry Way sets the scene with a curious look into the life of Catherine Green – a female serial killer bent on revenge. With a madness that breathes life into her character, Lockmaker has written a fantastic thriller that just leaves us hungry for more. Just who is this umbrella man, is a doctor, an imaginary psychopath? Perhaps we’ll find out one day. But in the mean time, if you enjoyed Lockmaker’s work, make sure to view her other published work on Inkblots, “Dear Mister Nice Guy.

Featured Image CC // Maarten Van Damme

The Rag Doll

Written by Theadora


I’m a rag doll, you’re a knife,
Your blade slicing through my life.
You took my innocence away,
And burned it in the light of day.

You place your needles on my face,
And my coffin you line with lace.
So many nights I faced the pain,
Your lace brushing against my veins.

You raped my body as well as my soul,
And you broke a life once whole.
You beat me to a bloodied floor,
Then satisfied, you locked the door.

As I lay there broken and cold,
I watched this disaster unfold.
So place the blade against my skin,
And let this butchery begin.


One of our oldest members on the forum, Theadora’s work always hit the mark. Written as part of a difficult time, she penned this many years ago and published it to our forum. A haunting poem, The Rag Doll brings darkness to the surface in such a cut-throat fashion. It’s bleak, short and dressed down. And to this day, we still love reading it. If you enjoyed Theadora’s poetry, please consider leaving a comment or a like on the post. 

Featured Image CC // Steven Depolo

 

 

Howlers

Written by Dizzy Dazzle


They were gaining on her. Fast.

She tore through the trees like a bullet, barely acknowledging the razor-sharp cuts to her arms from the branches. She would feel the pain later. The forest passed by in a blur, tree trunks merging into one another, their jagged arms grabbing at her, forcing her back. She glanced behind her, long black hair whipping out round her cheekbones. Her first big mistake.

They were close. Nearly close enough to touch. She let out a gasp and, as though they could smell her fear, they let out shrieks of triumph, whilst their fiery yellow eyes burnt ever brighter.

She willed her legs to go faster, but she could feel them tiring. The girl knew the creatures were clever. As she couldn’t rely on speed, she’d have to deceive or trick them. If only she had access to a torch – they hated fire.

Without pausing to think, she made a sharp turn to the right. But the girl was too slow. They were still following her, growling and snapping at her heels. She urged herself onward, heart pounding. Her legs were beginning to feel like lead weights.
They had split up. She was dimly aware that there were three of them, and that two were rounding her up from the sides. She glanced to her right, glimpsed a wolf-like head and lean, withered human body. The creatures eyes flashed menacingly, and she swallowed a scream that was building up inside her.

A river loomed into view. She headed towards it, though knowing she was going to tire before they did. She closed her eyes, then snapped them open again, surveying the width of the river. Maybe they wouldn’t be able to jump that far.

She gave a sudden burst of speed and launched herself from the bank towards the far side. But it wasn’t enough.

As she fell down towards the fast-flowing water, she closed her eyes and hit the surface, plummeting down. She heard them behind her in the river, and she surfaced quickly, gasping for air and clutching at the banks, her fingers scrabbling at the sodden earth. Something grabbed her from behind, and she let out a scream as claws cut deep into her ankles. Claws tore at her shoulder, ripping the flesh, and she went under again.

The creatures dragged her towards them, scratching at everywhere there was skin. The water was thick with blood. Her blood. She struggled to turn herself around, and managed to kick one of them in the neck. She heard a yelp of pain, and then they turned on her again, eyes burning angrily. This was it, she was going to die. She no longer had the strength to fight back. And letting out a deathly scream, the creatures closed in on her.


Our Halloween content has certainly kicked off in style with Dizzy Dazzle’s short fictional piece. Born from a larger work, Howlers is just a tense, fast-paced snapshot of the world she has built, but it holds our interest so tightly. A Wendigo is a particularly gruesome creature known for their gangly bodies, wolf heads and acts of cannibalism throughout North American and Canadian myths. Typically seen as monsters of the northern, colder regions, the beasts are often found in many contemporary horror stories. If you enjoyed Dizzy Dazzle’s piece, perhaps view her other work such as “Sinners”, and her short poetry, “Spiderwebs”.

Featured Image CC // Miguel Angel Avila Lombana

 

The Wisps on the Moor

Written by Terrestris Veritas


She felt her foot snag in a root and lost control of her balance, falling forward to a jerking stop as the ground stayed where it was and a grip on her arm hauled her upright. The grip remained on her arm, firm but not without force. She looked up fearfully, seeing the gloved hand and crisp uniform, following along until she saw the stern, scarred face. He gazed at her with savage eyes that peeped out from underneath a shiny, leather cap.

He addressed her curtly, “Why were you running child?”

“I was chasing a rabbit,” she mumbled to her shoes.

“Speak up, and look me in the eye when you talk. There’s a good girl. Now, repeat what you just said.”

“I was chasing a rabbit.”

“Well you shouldn’t do that,” he said shortly. “Many people have important jobs to do around here and you wouldn’t want to get in their way now, would you?”

“No,” she said dejectedly, making sure to look him in the eye.

“Good. Now,” he continued talking as he led her back to the house. “I’m sure your mother would like you inside before it gets dark. No matter what, you must stay inside at night. The men here are on watch and could mistake you for someone else. And they do nasty things to people they don’t know in the dark.” He chuckled to himself as he opened the side door, still gripping her arm.

**

Samantha woke to the sound of someone calling her. Blinking rapidly, she looked around, straining to hear the voice again. The house creaked eerily. She gripped her bed sheets tightly. It was never quiet in this old, draughty house. And the noise made her skin crawl. Usually, Samantha slept in her mother’s room, but currently she was unwell with the baby and needed to rest alone. Having laid down again to sleep, she thought of her little brother. Samantha thought to herself: Why was he making mother so unwell? I hope she gets better soon. Her mother was the only nice person here, apart from the old maid who had made her bed for her. But no-one seemed to understand that her mother’s husband, the sergeant, was not her father.

“Samantha.”

She sat bolt upright. The voice had come from her left, near the window. Swinging her legs out of bed, she slipped on her shoes and stood up, smoothing down her nightdress.

“Samantha,” the voice whispered.

The house creaked loudly, and she jumped from the noise, almost knocking her stack of unpacked books. She walked to the window, pressing her hand against it to look out, shivering from the cold.

A small ball of orange light hovered just outside the window. “Samantha, follow us.” The voice was insistent.

“You want me to come with you? But come where?” Samantha was curious, but still cold.

“Outside Samantha. Come and play.”

Outside was warmer somehow, Samantha thought, turning away from the soft mist. Tucking her hair behind her ear, she looked around for the light. It bobbed into view, pulsing slightly. She chased after it, as it led her away from the house and up a slight hill. She kept a close eye on the ground so as to not fall over once more. Sometimes she’d think she had lost the ball of light but it would always reappear, whispering her name softly. It was just like one of her stories, she thought.

She didn’t know how long she followed that light, but eventually she came to a clearing of sorts. She heard a strange noise that sounded like water, and the air smelt funny too. But all that was driven away when she saw what she had been led to. Some distance away from her, she saw lots of balls of light – more like wisps in the mist. They were many colours including purple, yellow, blue, green and red. They zoomed overhead, chasing each other and laughing softly. And then they directed their attention to her.

“Come and play with us Samantha,” they chorused. “Come play with us.” They almost sounded like they were begging, again pulsing softly.

Samantha smiled. “Okay.”

**

“Sergeant, the girl has not yet been found.” The corporal stood stiffly, cap in hand and eyes front. Years of discipline could not disguise the slight tremble.

The Sergeant took a long drag on his cigarette, blew the smoke out in rings and considered the man in front of him. “How long has the little one been missing now?” he said slowly, dragging out the sentence as if he found the topic distasteful.

“Since… since your wife went to wake her sir. About five hours ago.” The corporal tried his best to hide his stutter.

He waved a hand in a mild gesture. “In my childhood, my sister would disappear for days on end, especially when she was around Samantha’s age. Indeed, I used to do the same. My parents never thought anything of it – they were guilty of the same thing. Sadly, my wife does not share my reasoning that this behaviour is simply a part of growing up. She worked herself up so much that she had to be sedated. She is not able to cope, and I do not want my child or wife at risk of further ill-health. That is why the brat must be found. Understand?” He raised an eyebrow at the shivering man.

The corporal saluted. “Yes-sir!”

“Of course corporal,” the Sergeant added with a wry smile, “I wouldn’t worry unduly if she were to not be found for some time. You say there was a slight incident yesterday with a guard?”

“Yes-sir. The guard on watch took exception to the girl’s game. He caught her as she tripped and escorted her back indoors. It was heard that he believed the child was distracting him and warned her, yet again as it is, not to go out after dark. He also hinted that he may have intimidated the girl.”

“Let him be. If he did truly scare her, she’ll come back when she gets hungry. ‘Tis the way with children, corporal.” The Sergeant took another long drag and murmured, “Had she been raised with my strict hand, such a thing would not occur, for she would know the punishment. And punished she shall be.” He declared to the corporal, “All should know, understand and receive the consequences of their actions.” He winked at the suddenly pale man. “Not a bad way to live, eh?”

The corporal was saved in answering by another uniformed man rushing in. Heaving for breath he saluted and removed his cap. “Sir!”

“Private.” The Sergeant acknowledged him. “Your report?” There was a moment of silence apart from the private’s heavy breathing. “Come on man, spit it out!”

The private flinched. He seemed to be steeling himself. “Sir. Not ten minutes ago the patrol boats from along the coast radioed the barracks. They were attempting to trail the runaways from two days ago. But they spotted something else…” At this, the private hesitated.

The Sergeant stubbed out his cigarette with a hiss and stood up from behind his desk. “Private, tell me what you have come to tell me or there will be consequences.” There was another pause as the private and corporal exchanged looks. “Out with it, private!”

The private blanched. Gathering himself together hurriedly, he garbled through the words. “They saw something on the rocks, at the base of the cliffs. Riding closer, it was clearly a body. They thought it was one of the fugitives at first, sir, but then they saw the night-gown…” He trailed off, not daring to say more.

The Sergeant remained staring at the private, mouth open in disbelief. Slowly he sank back into his chair and for a moment stared at his papers, as if at a loss. With a weak wave of his hand he dismissed the other men. They left the room as quickly as possible. It was quiet in the corridor beyond, so silent that they easily heard the clink of a bottle against a glass from the Sergeant’s room.


The haunting image of a girl driven to her death on the rocks is saddening, to say the least. But Terrestris Veritas’ words dig deep in his short fiction. We love how he’s created such a wonderful setting with Samantha and the ghostly spirits of the house. Perhaps she’s not dead though, and merely wandered into Wonderland as Alice’s doppelgänger. We can only hope. If you enjoyed Terra’s work, please feel free to leave a like or comment, or perhaps read some of his other work including, “For Loved Ones” and “Diaries of the Gods”.

Featured Image CC // Derek Bruff

For Loved Ones

Written by Terrestris Veritas


“I’ve never taken on a job like this before,” Sandy said as she stepped over the threshold. “Are you sure I’ll be able to handle it?”

Igor smiled, closed the front door after her and gestured down the hallway. “I’m sure you’ll be just fine,” he assured her, eyes twinkling. “The kids are quite good and excited to see you. I’ve barely been able to contain them.”

Sandy smiled back, the worry fading from her mind. “They must be a delight to have around the place.” She pushed open the kitchen door. “This is quite a nice house as well. What did you say your job was again?” She turned to face him but before she could she heard a muffled thud and collapsed without a sound.

**

Igor opened the door to his kids’ room. “Lucy, Chase!” he called as he entered.

The twins were sitting on their beds on opposite sides of the room. Both were slight of stature and dressed in casual clothes. They were sitting cross-legged facing each other, staring the opposing twin down, as if they were opponents. Lucy was dark of eye with straight, black hair to match, while Chase had bright, blonde hair with piercing, electric-blue eyes. Both snapped their gazes to Igor.

In an instant, Lucy was by his side, hugging him fiercely. Chase came slower, he always was slower than his sister, but hugged his father with just as much warmth. Lucy let go and took a step back. “Daddy, you were gone for ages!” she rallied, stamping her foot in fake anger.
Igor tousled her hair, “I’m sorry darling. I was getting some work done. But I’m here now.” He smiled as she did.

Chase spoke. “Daddy, can we go back to Mensington? I miss our old home.”

Igor shook his head sadly. “I’m sorry son, but you and your sister burnt the town down, remember. There’s nothing left.”

“But you can build it again, can’t you Daddy?”

“Of course it can be built again. But it takes time. Now my children,” he said, taking their hands, “there is someone I want you to meet.”

Lucy started jumping up and down, her hair blurring from the motion. “You brought us someone to play with?” she squealed.

Chase smiled widely, ever the calm one. “Did you really Daddy?”

Igor nodded. “I did. Her name’s Sandy. She’s in the box room, waiting for you. She’s your new playmate. Why don’t you go play with her?”

Both the twins hugged him again. “Thank you Daddy!” they chorused in unison. Lucy’s eyes had grown darker, gaining a red tint, while Chase’s had grown all the more brighter with excitement. They rushed from the room, eager to meet their new friend.

Igor sat on Chase’s bed, hunched over, elbows on knees and head in hands. He was dreading the time when the children came back. He would have to bathe them, bed them and wash their clothes. He knew then he’d have to clean the box room from top to bottom, removing all the blood and get rid of what remained of dear Sandy. And in a few days he’d show someone new into the house, a new friend, a new playmate. The twins just wanted to play with people, so he made sure they had someone to play with. If he didn’t, they would get angry. But the other reason was far simpler – they were his children, and a good father wants his children to be happy. In whatever way he must and at whatever the cost.


Terribly dark and creepy, with just a touch sweetness – a perfect summary for Terrestris Veritas’s fictional work. Written on behalf of February’s HHC, Fanning the Flames, this is indescribably tense and twisted. Lucy and Chase seem so innocent until Igor’s thoughts in the last paragraph, and then it truly dawns on us what these children have done. Jeepers creepers? Just about. If you enjoyed Terra’s HHC here, be sure to view his other work, including “Diaries of the Gods” and “Race“. 

Featured Image CC // Song Zhen