*Flash Fiction* The Stranger in Your Bed

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The Stranger in Your Bed

By Laura Beasley

Her answers didn’t add up.

She told him the wooden cage was for a large bird she’d caught. But only small and medium-sized birds lived in the woods. She let him chop up the cage to burn in the fireplace.

She let him scrape the candy off the outside of the cottage. It had been a failed decorating project she’d seen on Pinterest. Women do crazy things.

They met on a dating website. He liked her long, grey hair and flowing black dresses. She was interested in marriage and liked children. She owned her cottage in the middle of the woods.

Their relationship was clicking and he planned to pop the question. He was ready to bring his grandson to visit on weekends.

Everything changed one day. He was fixing dinner in her kitchen while she painted her nails blood-red. He needed more EVOO for the salad dressing. He found the pouch of bones in the pantry. They were children’s finger bones.

He never married her. He kept his grandson safe.

He called the cold case district attorney. The DA had been searching for the killer of a missing child. A little boy had been lost in the woods for more than a decade.

Hansel’s parents would find peace at last.

 

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Flash Fiction Friday *Waltzing Matilda*

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Waltzing Matilda

By Jillian Bost

Matilda trudged down the country lane in a huff. She shouldn’t have been walking by herself this late in the evening, but Emma had stayed behind at the party to bat her eyes and giggle at every word Thomas Ward said. Matilda was the one who’d coaxed Thomas out of his shell, and taught him how to waltz. Yet Emma had been the one he’d stared after, as if she were the cupbearer and Matilda the desert.  “You can’t dance, you great big drooling beast!” Matilda had yelled before storming out of his house.

Jealousy bit at her insides, and she winced. She drew her cloak tighter around herself, hating the wind that battered her face and cursing the moon that was hiding in the dark, for Thomas would be walking Emma home tonight, not her.

Matilda closed her eyes and imagined a new dance partner. This man would be taller than Thomas, stronger, and have a full head of lush black hair. He wouldn’t fall prey to the simpering lamb act of a bored young woman. He would know every dance, including the waltz.

She opened her eyes and gasped. “Oh my…”

“Good evening, milady. I’m sorry to have startled you.”

It was him. Tall, strong, and mysterious.Her dream.

Together they waltzed, though he moved as if he were pained. He released Matilda just as she caught a glimpse of yellow eyes. Some trick of the moon, she mused, which had peeked out from behind the clouds.

“Thank you for the dance.” He bowed, then hobbled away, curled in on himself.

“But wait! What is your name?” Matilda hurried after him, nearly stumbling over her skirt.

She gasped when he swung round, his snout and fangs shining in the light. “Oh dear,” she managed, before he closed in.

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Flash Fiction Friday *Don’t*

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Don’t

Gregg Chamberlain

 

Don’t run out of gas.

Don’t get out of the car.

Don’t go look for help.

Don’t go near the old house.

Don’t knock on the door.

Don’t open the door.

Don’t go inside.

Don’t stay in the house.

Don’t explore.

Don’t split up.

Don’t go upstairs.

Don’t go into the basement.

Don’t go without a weapon.

Don’t turn around.

Don’t waste time screaming.

Don’t cry to me now that you’re dead because you just don’t ever listen!

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*Flash Fiction Friday* Midnight Change

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MIDNIGHT CHANGE

By Kevin Lewis

It was midnight when the man entered the rest stop bathroom. The man clutched his face with his hands and screamed in agony. He bore his fingers into his face, tearing the flesh away. Chunks of his flesh fell to the floor. He threw them in the trashcan with no hesitation. His human covering always grew back.

The agony he was experiencing was not new to him. He endured the change every night for as long as he could remember.

The man stepped outside into the dark and cold night. He heard a woman gasp. Turning his head to the left, he stared at a young couple. Their horrified eyes were transfixed on his monstrous form – his dark and scaly body, sharp claws, and razor-sharp fangs.

The monster just grinned.

Dinner!

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Flash Fiction Friday *When He Left Himself*

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When He Left Himself

By Jillian Bost

Alfred curled up underneath his blankets. The evening shouting had begun. His father had staggered home early from the White Hart Inn, and his mother had hurried Alfred upstairs. He fancied he still felt the warmth of her grazed kiss against his forehead.

But the ghost of his mother’s kiss, and the warmth of the blankets, didn’t keep out his father’s shouts, and the smash of glass, and his mother’s silence.

Alfred squeezed his eyes shut, willing the blackness to grow darker still until he could become nothing, and float away from his body, away from his trembling limbs and the chilled attic.

He murmured the words again and again: “Far away, far away, far away.”

Alfred felt himself floating and gave a quick whisper of delight as he gazed down at his prone body. He spotted an owl perched on the windowsill. He longed to sit beside it and stare out into the night.

He moved through the window, seeking the moon.

The round comforting glow became obscured by a figure, with no face but a black void. It beckoned to him.

He flailed about, but couldn’t get back to his body.

The dark figure was pulling him down to the ground. Alfred could sense a grim joy from the thing.

He couldn’t speak. Couldn’t move.

A warm spot on his forehead grew and intensified, and Alfred jolted back to his bed, feeling as if he’d fallen from the sky. He stared wild-eyed at the chestnut-haired woman looming over him as she stroked his forehead.

“Back to sleep, my darling.”

He smiled and nodded, and closed his eyes again, scarcely hearing his mother’s soft footfalls as she left the room.

He was just about to drift off to sleep, when he felt a tugging on his foot.

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Flash Fiction Friday *Return*

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Return

By Jillian Bost

Violet jerked awake, her heart thudding like a thick fist against an iron door. She tossed away all outside sounds and sat up in the bed, clutching the blanket to her chest.

Yes. She heard it again.

With shaking fingers Violet threw on a robe, hurried into the living room, and flung herself onto the couch. She reached for the remote, then hesitated. She left the television, and the lights, off.

And waited.

The shadows elongated in the vague moonlight spilling through the thinly-opened curtains, and tried to coax her to come out to them, and be enveloped in their skeletal embrace.

The next bang came seconds or years later. Violet crept to the front door and peeked out through the peephole. She sucked in a gasp and grasped the lock by instinct.

The man on her front stoop was over 6 foot, and solid like a side of beef. His hair was stringy, clothes drenched. Even through the door, she could smell the sea. His face had been nibbled on by innumerable fish.

He was beautiful. Violet unlocked and opened the door, and held out her arms. “Come here.”

He lumbered forward into her embrace, and she held him tight.

Tears spilled over, and she slashed them away with the backs of her salty fingers. “I’ve been waiting for you a long time,” she said, voice as tender as a baby bunny. “I’m going to take care of you now.”

Seawater dribbled from his gaping mouth, and Violet smiled.

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*Flash Fiction Friday* That Hugh Grant Face

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That Hugh Grant Face

James Pyne

A pinch in Gary’s neck with him blacking out had him waking up roped to a chair in a dimly lit kitchen. Wintery-grey hair draped his captor’s back who he hadn’t seen face to face yet.

“Where am I?” He tried wiggling loose.  Who are—”

By the sounds of it and looks of the package of carrots, she was cutting some on a cutting board.

“I’m Barb’s ex.” She pulled out a carrot from the bag. “Why so quiet? Your wife didn’t tell you that she was into girls? Does that excite you?”

Barbra’s family was from money. Ransom was the only explanation; his luck to end up with a smartass kidnapper.

“She gave me the speech,” the woman continued, “about how she’ll always love me but she’s met someone else. Looks like Hugh Grant in his prime, she said. Like it was the most important thing ever.”

“Money, is that what you want?”

“I tried winning her back.” She sliced some more. “But, Hugh, you got your roots deep inside her.” Gary caught himself from correcting her on his actual name. He didn’t want to provoke her, especially when she held up a knife with carrot bits on it as if looking at her reflection in it. “Yes, this one will do just nicely.”

She spun around. Her face was a painted-skull of black and mustard-yellow makeup with dark branches spreading from her eyes and a black saw-like mouth drawn up to either ear.

“Look, whatever you want, you got, just don’t kill me.”

“I’m not going to kill you, Hugh.” She smirked, pressing the knife tip against the cleft of her chin. “Question: When she finds you, and Barb will, I’ll make sure of that, do you think she’ll still love you without a face?”

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