The next three days were quiet. I suspected that whoever was doing this to granddad was someone in his cul-de-sac, someone who had seen us put up the cameras. While we hadn’t hidden the cameras, they weren’t exactly obvious. Small black boxes dotted around the outside of the house. Someone knew they were there.
But on the fourth day they showed that cameras or not, they would not stop harassing an old man.
I got the alert at 2am, my phone beeped, the notification read “Motion Detected”. Then again, a few minutes later, another notification “Motion Detected” and another, and another. By the fourth notification, I was awake.
I opened the app to see someone well covered in black clothing, hood pulled up over their head, scarf wrapped around their face. They were in the driveway, and they were hurling paint at the house, car and garden.
They say everyone who looks into their family history will find a secret, eventually. I had always thought that didn’t apply to my family. They were all far too dull, too prim and proper to have any interesting secrets.
Then someone killed my granddad’s dog.
We found Rufus in the garden, eyes wide, blood and foam running from his mouth. He was cold and hard to the touch. Granddad had lifted him up, cradling the small dog in his big-knuckled hands. Watching my grandfather like that reminded me of when grandma had been dying. She had been so frail towards the end, a collection of bird bones cradled by Granddad’s gentle, powerful hands.
We buried Rufus behind the house, near the rosebushes.
A few days passed, then someone started defacing his car. Great long scratches appeared down the side, more and more every day. Then the following week the tyres were cut, then a few days later the windscreen broken.
“What’s that?” Jake shouted. I crossed the boat to see what he was pointing at. There was something under the water. A soft glow was visible. Small and concentrated like a flashlight.
“Uh, fish maybe?” I said.
“Glowing fish?” dad rolled his eyes.
“Yeah,” I said. “It’s called bioluminescence.” Dad stared at me the way he often did when he wasn’t sure if I was having him on. “Seriously, Google it when we get back.”
“First hums, now glowing fish,” dad said.
“It’s moving,” Jake said. The humming grew louder. I could feel it rumbling through my body. Smaller items on the boat were shaking. “It’s moving real fast.” I looked over the side of the boat to see Jake was right. The light was moving, it was racing back and forth under the boat and getting bigger with each lap.
“It’s coming up,” I realised. “Shit, we need to move now!”
March seems to have turned into the month of sharing my work with you. Below is a short which is my first, and possibly only, attempt at Sci-Fi Horror.
I was in my thirties when I saw the other ship.
It was a calm night, and the sea was quiet. Only the soft sound of waves brushing against the boat prevented total silence. The sound was rhythmic and soothing, adding to my sense of peace. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, enjoying the smell of the sea.
“We should have taken this up years ago,” my dad said, settling back in his chair and cracking open his third beer.
“Yup, told ya so,” Jake, my dad’s lifelong friend and current roommate, smirked. “You should have listened to me.”
“Night fishing hardly sounds glamourous,” I said. “Especially when the only experience we have of it is you getting in at 5 in the morning reeking of beer and fish guts with nothing to show for it.”
“Fish is not the reason I come fishing,” Jake said. “It’s for the peace, the beer and the atmosphere.”
“And now the company,” dad said. Jake held out his beer can for a clink and the two laughed.
“I have to admit,” I said. “This is peaceful.”
It was pitch black except for the moon, a few stars, and the light of the boat. Jake was right, this was peaceful. There was something infinitely soothing about a calm sea at night. I decided that I might have to take them up on the offer to tag along on a few more trips.
“This is nice, just the sound of the sea,” Jake said, echoing my thoughts.
“It would be even nicer if you’d shut up,” Dad said. Jake laughed.
We sat in comfortable silence, listening to the sea wash against the side of the small fishing boat.
I was drifting off when dad shook me.
“Did you hear that?” he said. I sat up, blinked the sleep from my eyes and listened, but all I could hear was the sea and Jake softly snoring in his chair. Nothing else.
I know this is a bit cheeky, but you can’t hold it against me (at least I hope you can’t. my first recommendation is all the below anthologies.
The theme of these anthologies is that they are all horror and they all contain a short story by yours truly
Just to be clear I get nothing financial from most of the sales, I was paid a fixed fee for each story submitted and don’t get royalties etc (except for Darkness Screams Howling Deep, that one I get royalties).
So you can trust that I am recommending these books because I have copies of all of them and they are damn good.
For my fellow writers out there, I’d recommend submitting to these publishers, I’ve not had a bad experience with any of them.
Darkness Screams: Howling Deep – Featuring my short story Stella
Caroline is uneasy when her husband brings back a large dog from the Shelter. There’s something about Stella that doesn’t feel right, the light in her eyes is a little bit too intelligent.
Horrorzine Fall Edition 2022 containing my short story The Chest
A grandmother dies leaving her granddaughter a mysterious chest of drawers which contain the impossible.
Since 2009, The Horror Zine has published exceptional horror fiction by emerging talent and today’s leading authors. Editor Jeani Rector selects only the most inventive and captivating tales for each issue. In addition to short fiction, The Horror Zine features amazing poetry and artwork. Now The Horror Zine brings the dark delights from the ezine into a print magazine.
The Fall 2022 issue features Damian Karras, Katie Marie, Brie Edison, William Falo, Timothy Wilkie, Melissa R. Mendelson, James Burt, Kristen Houghton, Garrett Rowlan, J. Rocky Colavito, Madison McSweeney, Nicholas Tana, Michael Fowler, Ed Rosick, Maxwell I. Gold, Josh Darling, Oliver Smith, Max Bindi, Juan Perez, Louise Worthington, Frank Coffman, Sharmila Mitra, John C. Mannone, Joseph Danoski, Heather Miller, Chris McAuley, James Arthur Anderson, John Grey, Dan Verkys, Lena Goral, Duncan Bennett, Gordon Lewis, Sumiko Saulson, and Vox.
A University PhD student investigates a strange body that washes up on a small island beach.
Forget the bends… Shadows Beneath the Surface is the second entry in the Dead Seas series from Dead Sea Press and brings us crashing to the top of the ocean for more aquatic and nautical horror from fifteen new and incredible talents.
A screening of Jaws is more immersive than advertised – and far more dangerous. A new discovery promises pain to any who stumble across it. And a washed-up abomination really should have been left out to dry…
From ghost ships to monstrous ferry crossings, from eerie islands to creepy caves, this collection proves that not all of the ocean’s beasts lie beneath the waves.
All this and more in a monstrous collection of stories from T.L. Beeding, Chris Williams, Christopher Saylor, David R. Polsdorfer, Gregg V. Landry, Malina Douglas, Matt Bliss, Stephanie Kvellestad, Karen Lethlean, Nancy Schumann, Jay Sykes, Katie Marie, Rachel Nussbaum, Lisa Fox, and Shannon Frost Greenstein.
Don’t forget: every penny of profit goes right to The Shark Trust, an organisation promoting the conservation and protection of sharks, skates and rays. Your support is hugely appreciated.
My short story There’s Something in the Water is featured in Water: Selkies, Sirens & Sea Monsters!
Water is the most yielding of all elements, changing to fit its container, whether that be a thimble or a lake bed. At the same time, anyone who has ever watched the unrelenting progression of a tsunami understands its raw power. Associated with mutability, transformation, and the subconscious, water is both the tranquil azure of a tropical sea and the tumultuous waves and whitecaps of an embroiled ocean. As many faces as water may wear, the creatures within and associated with it have even more.
Featuring: Catherine MacLeod; Kevin Cockle; Greta Starling; Elise Forier Edie; Kate Shannon; Sara Rauch; Katie Marie; Rebecca Brae; Colleen Anderson; L. T. Waterson; Chadwick Ginther; Julia Heller; Marshall J. Moore; Joel McKay; Elizabeth R. McClellan; Eric M. Borsage; Laura VanArendonk Baugh; Josh Reynolds; Liam Hogan; Mari Ness; Davide Mana; Sarah Van Goethem; Valerie Hunter; and Kelly Sandoval.
“This collection of ghost stories is fresh, varied, and entertaining. Perfect company for long a winter’s night.” – Owen King, co-author of Sleeping Beauties
“An incredibly creepy collection of stories of the recently and not so recently dead, written by some of the finest writers in horror. I suggest that when reading, do so in the daylight, because reading these at night will only make you more aware of your own, unempty house.” – Susie Moloney, author of The Dwelling and The Thirteen
“Gruesome, eerie, horrific, sometimes uplifting; this is a terrific selection of ghost stories that satisfy the soul—they chill the blood, too.” – Simon Clark, author of Whitby Vampyrrhic
“Looking for a perfect evening? Spend the night hunkered down in your favorite chair with only a reading light on, and dive into The Horror Zine’s Book of Ghost Stories. Forget sleep, these tales will keep you enthralled till daybreak.” – Tony Tremblay, author of The Moore House
“Nobody keeps the supernatural alive like The Horror Zine.” – Scott Nicholson, author of The Red Church
Call for Help
My short story Call for Help appears in the Haunted Life Anthology publish by Alban Lake.
We fear what we do not know and death is our ultimate fear. We do not know what lies beyond, or if there is a beyond, but some of us have ideas. Some of us have had experiences. Strange noises that can’t be explained. Objects moving on their own. Whispers of people who aren’t there. Slips of forms barely seen. Objects that are never to be touched. Words that are never to be spoken. Places that are never to be visited. All of these form the stories you’ll find within the soul-touched pages of The Haunted Life. Do you have the courage to find out what lies beyond?
My Short Story ‘In The Shadows’ appears in the Horror Zine!
Since 2009, The Horror Zine has published exceptional horror fiction by emerging talent and today’s leading authors. Editor Jeani Rector selects only the most inventive and captivating tales for each issue.
In the Shadows
When Christine dies in the bath everyone thinks it must be suicide. Her housemate quickly discovers that was not the case.
Today I am writing to you about The Masque of the Red Death.
This is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe that was published in 1982. In a nutshell, it is a story about a prince who wants to avoid the plague. He does so by holding a party in an abbey (Good lord this gives me flashbacks to news stories during COVID-19).
This is a very popular story and has been adapted more times than I can count. One version even starred Vincent Price. It has also been mentioned and referred to in countless other media.
Prince Prospero (Great name) is afraid of dying from the plague, as many people would be. The plague is referred to as the Red Death, due to the epic bleeding from the pores. So, he sequesters himself and a bunch of other noble-born people into an abbey. While there they hold elaborate parties across the abbey’s seven rooms. The last room is pretty foreboding and not a lot of people are brave enough to enter.
After midnight a new face appears, disguised as a Red Death victim. Prospero freaks out as this party crasher moves through each of the rooms. Eventually, he confronts the crasher and dies as a result. The Red Death costume is shown to contain absolutely nothing.