fantasy, horror, thriller

Seven Days – Part 1 (Horror)

Seven Days – Part 1

It had only been fifteen minutes, but Karen was already wiping a layer of dirty sweat and humidity from her braless chest. She had run from the house while still in her pajamas, her eyes bruised from last night’s makeup, hair a mess, and head pounding from her alcohol exploits. It was the phone call at 11:15 am that sent her straight from bed to the car within seconds…the phone call asking if Connor and Kenny stayed over last night. It was that phone call that let her know that her daughter Elizabeth was not at Connor’s where she said she would be. By 11:45, the parents, along with police and what seemed to be the entire neighborhood, were trudging through the woods a mile away. Boots slapping and sticking in the earth that was trying to dry after the seven days of rain had finally ceased.

It was a night alone with Tom, and now she felt guilty. She cherished the nights Elizabeth would stay with a friend. Freedom. Sex with Tom the way it used to be, alcohol, maybe a joint, staying out until she damn well chose to come home. Whenever the opportunity arose for Elizabeth to stay at Connor’s Karen took it. She knew it had been raining for days, but refused to count how many. Because if she had counted, she would have known it was seven, and that it would have been safer for Elizabeth to stay home that night. And now Elizabeth was missing. This was her fault. Her selfish fault.

Everything in her body told her Elizabeth was gone. “Elizabeth! Connor! Kenny!” She yelled every so often into the woods that surrounded her. Every time she yelled, she felt the squeeze of emptiness grow tighter around her body, strangling her with the thought of never seeing her daughter again. The “reassurance” from people walking around her was not reassuring at all. The three best friends have pulled stunts like this before. But they have always been sure to be home on time, if not early, to minimize the scolding.

She saw something blue in the distance. The top of the kiddie tent Elizabeth used when she was younger.

“Tom!” Karen could barely yell out as she ran toward the tent. “There!”

Tom and the mob followed Karen’s direction until there was a sudden stop. No one moved, and silence echoed between the people and the trees that surrounded them. A crow cawed in the distance. The police were the first to move toward the body. Only the sounds of their mud-smacking boots and rustling, pocketed pants filled the air. Karen couldn’t move, didn’t want to move. It was Elizabeth. She recognized her brown wavy hair and the Detroit Tigers pajamas. She was face down with her arms sprawled out as though she were lying in their king-sized bed. Her legs…her legs were… She moved up just a little, just enough to see that Elizabeth’s legs were missing. No, that wasn’t right. She moved a little closer. They were in the ground as though Elizabeth had been standing and the earth had formed around her, stopping mid-thigh. And the rest of her body, toppled over the earth silent, still, lifeless.

***

A loud bang stopped Kenny from finishing his story about why his mom took his phone away for the day, something about ignoring her when he was on it. Him and Elizabeth looked up to see a muddy handprint on the window, raindrops already creating trails that ran through it. The camper door opened, and Connor stood in the doorway with his face covered in mud.

“They’re coming!” he growled. “They’re going to eat us alive! First our feet.” He stomped into the camper. “Then our legs!” He did his best decrepit walk towards Elizabeth. “Then our…ouch!” He rubbed his head where the basketball bounced off, courtesy of Elizabeth.

“You’re an idiot, Connor” she said.

“It is day seven,” Kenny said, bouncing closer to Elizabeth on the couch before grabbing her in his arms. “I’ll protect you!”

She looked down at him. “Yeah, if anything happens, more like I’ll be protecting you two.” She rolled her eyes while pushing Kenny off of her. At age eleven, it was only natural that she was the tallest of the three. She was also better at basketball, baseball, and throwing crab apples at the other neighborhood kids.

Connor pulled her to her side, looping his arms around hers from the back and pulled her to the ground. “Get her!” he yelled to Kenny. Kenny straddled her and began tickling her stomach.

“Stop…”, she laughed, “…stop…I’m gonna…”, she screamed and kicked. “Stop it!”

Kenny stopped and held his hands above her, taunting her. She felt like she was going to vomit, but in a good way. She threw up once after going on the most amazing carnival ride ever, and compared her feelings for Kenny to that. Nauseating, yet amazing. “Get off me!”

Kenny and Connor looked at each other for approval before letting her go. She pounced on Kenny, knocked him to the ground and then straddled him, holding both his shoulders down.

“Help?” he said to Connor who was in the corner of his parent’s camper, laughing.

She sucked together a wad of spit and let it slowly drip from her mouth, then slurped it back up right before it landed on his face. Drop, slurp, repeat…it was a loogy-yoyo, and a pretty fine one in her mind.

Connor interrupted the torture with, “We should sneak out to the woods tonight. See if the Murmer Men come.”

“What?” She climbed off Kenny. “Are you serious?”

“It’s been seven straight days of rain. If the stories are true, they will come out tonight to feast on human flesh. I want to see what they look like.”

“They aren’t real, Connor,” Kenny said. “It’s just a fairy tale. There is no such thing as men made out of mud that eat humans. That’s ridiculous.”

“Oh yeah? Then there should be no problem hanging out in the woods then.”

Elizabeth could see a flash of fear in Kenny’s eyes, and felt one in her own. Unwilling to play the girl, Elizabeth said, “Done. I’ll grab my tent from when I was little that my mom refuses to throw away. We tell our parents that we’re staying over each other’s houses?”

“Yep,” said Connor. “Kenny?”

“Yeah, why not. Nothing’s going to happen anyways.”

***

Elizabeth reached to the bottom of her nightstand drawer and pulled out the picture of Kenny that she cut from last year’s year book. Her cheeks rose high as she took a breath in and held it to her heart. With an exhale, she pulled it from her chest and took in every last pixel of brown hair and brown eyes before placing it back in the drawer.

“What are you doing with that tent?” her mom asked. Elizabeth did realize it was a little odd, grabbing her tent she hadn’t played with since she was five. And, honestly, what would an eleven-year-old do with a baby tent anyway.

“Oh, I told Connor I was going to give it to his little sister.” Her mouth lifted with a charity-filled smile. In her mind, she heard a ding while a sparkle formed on her teeth…an Orbit commercial at its best.

“Are you sure? You may want to play in it again one day.”

Elizabeth smirked while raising her eyebrows. “Really, Mom?”

Karen sighed. “Go have fun. You sure you don’t want me to drive you over?”

“Nah, I can walk. It’s just rain.” She slipped into her poncho and threw the tent over her shoulders before leaving the house.

Kenny and Connor were waiting at the corner of Lindell and West Street. Each had their own items to lug. Kenny carried a backpack filled with sodas, cookies, jerky, flashlights and any other small items of necessity. Connor carried a garbage bag that held two blankets. Based on the size of the tent, though, they would only be using one.

They learned from their last adventure to take side streets to the woods. Last time they were caught walking down one of the main streets after dark, a concerned citizen thought it would be helpful to question them and then call the police to escort them to their homes. Their homes, of course, had very angry parents to greet them. That mistake would definitely not happen again.

The steady raindrops hitting their ponchos chilled as the night sky crept in, letting the children know that it was only a few hours before midnight. A few hours before the Murmer Men would finally rise for their feast.

“How far in should we go?” asked Kenny as they stood just outside the forest.

“Right to the middle. I want to make sure we see them rise from the mud,” said Connor before seeking his way ahead.

End part 1.

PART 2

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thriller

The Seeing – flash fiction-thriller

Mom used to see a psychic when I was young. Dad thought she was nuts. To tell the truth, so did I, yet here I am, twenty-three years later, knocking on her door. I’m covered in day-old sweat. Scratches cover most areas of my skin that are showing; bruises continue to form on most of the areas of my body that are not showing. The lump on my forehead, I’m confident, will be noticed by her. She will ask, and I will avoid giving her the answer. I am here to ask her questions, not the other way around. I never considered, though, that she may know the answer as soon as she sees me. If she is truly psychic, she will know…everything. I should leave, but before I can turn to walk away, she is at the door.

“Danny,” she says with a smile. She is a short woman, no taller than five feet. Thin, and dressed in layers of decorated cloth from head to ankle. On her head, strands of gray hairs are pushing their way out from under the drapes. The piercing in her nose does not surprise me. I should have known Mom would only go to a true Gypsy. “Your mother spoke quite well of you, dear. Come in, have a seat.”

As I entered her small home, she gestured ahead to a small table with a crystal ball placed perfectly in the middle. I took my seat, peering into the ball hoping to catch a glimpse.

“Let me look at you, dear.” She grabs my hand and my heart begins to race. Is she going to know? Can she read my mind? What exactly do psychics know? “Oh yes, you look just like her. I’m so sorry she’s gone.”

“Thank you,” I respond without making eye contact. I should just leave right now.

“Cards, crystal ball, or palm reading? Which do you prefer, Dear?”

My hands are covered in sweat. Definitely not a palm reading. “Cards, I guess.”

“Great choice,” her eye gets lost in her wrinkles as she winks at me. She reaches behind the chair she is sitting in and pulls out a black cloth, which she opens to reveal Tarot cards. After a slight shuffle, I cut the deck and then she deals. She turns the cards over slowly as if not to give away any secrets before she is ready. She then explains to me that the cards are merely a tool she uses to pull messages from the spirits that come to her in visions.

Card one. “You are in danger.”

Card two. “Someone is seeking justice against you.”

She stops before turning card three. She places the cards on the table, along with both of her hands and slowly looks up at me. Oh God, she knows. “Why are you here, dear?” she asks.

“I…I’m in trouble,” I say.

She nods her head. “And?”

I look at her mouth and then her ear as I speak, “and I’m hoping you may see a way that I can get out of it.” My gaze finally finds safety and rests on the cards. I know the minute I show her my eyes, my soul, she will know.

There is silence. Silence, and I feel her unwavering gaze peering at my soul that refuses to peer back. I start to back my chair up in an effort to leave.

“Stay,” she says firmly. “I will look.” She hovers her hands over the clear ball and begins to hum. Her hum falls silent. “Who is Brian? Is that your brother?”

I sit quietly. I want to answer. I was asked a question and the correct thing to do is answer, but I don’t. If I do, she will know.

“Yes, I see him. Your brother did this to you,” she says as her eyes take in my scratches and bumps. My eyes divert back to the ground. “Why would your…” I look up at her as she looks back to the globe. I want to push it off the table. I lift my hand to slide it off but see her head slowly rising up. The stare that was once on the globe is now peering down at me as she stands up from her chair. I am now looking directly into her eyes, if only out of pure fear of what is going to come out of her mouth next. “How could you?” she growls in a deep whisper.

I jump up from my chair and stumble towards the door that slams shut before I get to it. There is no one at the door that could have shut it. Only me and the gypsy are in the room. I turn to look back at her to see her eyes have turned gray. Her head is tilted back so she can look down her nose at me even though I am two feet taller. Her eyes tell me she knows everything, has seen everything. “Your mother was a wonderful woman. I watched you kill her,” she continued to growl. I turn back to the door and try to get out, but the nob won’t turn. “I will set you free…to your death. Take your fortune with you,” she says while holding out a piece of paper. “Take it!” she demands.

I grab the paper and am then able to open the door. I run from the house to the street that is unusually vacant for a weekend at noon. I run a few houses down before looking back at hers. She is nowhere to be seen. I continue to walk down the middle of the street while opening the paper she handed me. There are two words: Look up. I look up and see nothing, but I do hear a noise to my left. As I start to look left, I see a car in my peripheral vision coming fast at me. There is no pain. Only blackness and then nothing.

~~~

Written by Sheryl Marasi (pen name)

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love, thriller

Thomas – flash fiction-drama

It’s dark in here. The smell is musty. Cellars usually are… dark and musty. The desk holds only one piece of paper, a bottle of ink, the quill pen I hold in my hand, and the melted remains of the many candles that barely lit the room before the one that flickers now. Pink, white, and yellow waxes are melded into some form of artwork that I never intended to create. I have been down here for two days now. My body is numb. I do not hunger or thirst, yet I know I should. I do not cry, though I did…for hours. I merely wait.

“Thomas.” I whisper out knowing a response will not be returned.

Three days ago, I saw him. Thomas. He was with Georgina. They were kissing in an alley behind Johnny’s Liquor Store. Never mind that three years ago, he and I kissed beautifully at the chapel on Fifth Street as we both said “I do”.

I didn’t know what to do when I saw them, so I ran. I know they saw me. I heard him yell my name when I turned to run. “Helen!” he yelled. But only once, and there were no running footsteps that followed. Just my name, and only once.

So, I came here. To the cellar of the home we have lived in for three years. This is where I will continue to wait for Thomas to return to me. It doesn’t matter how long it takes. Two days is nothing compared to the lifetime we promised each other. I will not eat nor drink until he returns to me. “Thomas.” A tear rolls down my chin as I pick up the quill pen and ink it.
*****
Cole and Haley both sit quietly in their family room while scrolling their latest social media aps on their phones.

“Did you hear that?” asks Cole.

Haley smiles, “Do you think?”

They both jump from the sofa, run to the kitchen and slowly push the creaking cellar door open. “I love old houses!” Haley attempts to hold in a giggle of excitement, but Cole hears the squeak and smiles.

“Built in the 1800s and full of character…aka a death.”

“Helen Martin,” states Haley.

As they reach the bottom of the stairs, a candle that they did not light is burning at an empty desk with a note made of wet ink that they did not write.  It reads:

My Dearest Thomas,
Forever, I will wait. Please come back to me soon.

~~~

Written by Sheryl Marasi (pen name)

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AUDIO version

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