#NGHW 9 Campfire Tale Snippets

These are the 9 Campfire excerpts from the  Campfire Tale challenge.

1. The Face: Naching T. Kassa
He’s coming to the window,

He’s coming to the window,

Don’t let him in,

Don’t let him in,

DON’T LET HIM IN!

Agatha sat up. She blinked as her eyes adjusted to the silvery moonlight which streamed into her room. When she turned to her window, she saw it. Something small and pale floated outside. It was a face. No body. No head. Just a face.

Black eyes glared at Agatha. Beneath its long nose, a mouth scowled. It moved toward her window.

Agatha scrambled out of bed. Her nightdress caught on the bed knob and she tore it as she moved forward. The face came closer. Agatha caught hold of the sash and slammed the window shut.

The face gnashed its teeth in mute fury and Agatha stared at it in mounting horror.  All of its teeth were filed to a point, each one stained red.

It hung there for over a moment and then floated away, back toward the forest.


  1. Forgotten by Jonathan Fortin

Someone was watching her—she was sure of it. She turned around…and there was an old man, staring at her with huge, bulging red eyes. He had a thick, tangled beard and wore in a brown cloak. His face was twitchy, and his fingers were long with soot-black tips. “Girl,” he said. “Why don’t you come give me those tarts?”

            Now, Clara had worked very hard on her tarts. Sometimes she gave them to friends, but not to strangers in the woods. “Sorry,” she said, “but these are for someone else.”

            She walked away, but the old man let out a fearsome growl: “Give me those tarts, girl!”

            That was all the warning Clara needed. She broke into a run.

            Somehow, she stumbled onto the path, and followed it to the clearing where her parents had set up camp. Mom had binoculars out and was watching birds. Dad was starting a fire. Clara breathed in relief. She’d be safe now. The old man would never find her here. 


  1. Not all who Wander are Lost by Fiend Gottes

Once long ago there was a Sioux couple, the wife became pregnant with twins unbeknownst to either of them. When the husband left to go hunting he would tell his wife,

‘If any stranger comes while I am gone, do not look at him for any reason.’ He would make her promise every time which she did. One day an old man came to their lodge while the husband was hunting. The wife being a kind soul let the man to eat but would sit with her back to him fulfilling her promise. The old man ate his meal, thanked the woman and left. The old man returned every day. Finally on the fourth day curiosity got the best of the wife and she peeked at the stranger breaking her promise. She saw not an old man but a horrible ogre known to the Sioux as a Two-Face. She knew everyone who looked upon a Two-Face died.


4.  Cabin 12 by Daphne Strasert

Patrol was the spookiest part of being a counselor. It was important, of course, especially later in the summer, when illicit romance had time to bloom. We tried to keep the kids smart and safe and that meant wandering in the woods every other night with only the moonlight as a guide. It took some getting used to. I could never shake the feeling that something watched me from the trees—probably because something did. Maybe it was only a rabbit. Maybe not. Like I said, spooky.

That’s how I found Cabin Twelve. I followed my feet on a late August night, not walking toward anything in particular, but away from the nagging feeling that something stood just outside my peripheral vision. I didn’t notice the building at first. The way the cabins were arranged around the lake, it didn’t seem like there should be anything there at all. It sat back further than the others did, where the trees were just a little thicker.


  1. Goose Meadows By Harry Husbands

Rounding a corner, we came to a children’s playground—hidden by large, green hills on every side. Climbing frames of various shapes and sizes sat among wood-chips, surrounded by a low metal railing. We ran to them, hooting like imbecilic apes and clambered about the structures. While stumbling down a faded silver slide, I spotted a black sports bag sat snugly in the corner, as if placed there on purpose.

I pointed it out to Lee.

“Check it out,” I said, “reckon it’s full of cash?”

“It better fucking be,” Lee said. We walked to it. I crouched down and was pulling back the zip when the bag came alive with movement.

I leapt back.

From within the shadows of its innards, I saw flesh and edged forward uneasily to open it further, jolting backwards again upon discovering its contents.


  1. Laughing Jack by Adele Marie Park

Five years ago a girl called Sally Jones went missing in these woods. Seven years old, she had grown up just a few miles from here.

Perhaps she wandered off the path following a bird or a small animal. She found herself lost in a menacing part of the forest.

Dead air hung upon the silent trees and dripped fear into her heart. She froze, pulse pounding in her ears like a drum. Fading in and out confusing her other senses. In her vision the trees poised on the cusp of command from an unknown source. They would pounce on her and rip her to pieces with their sharp wooden claws.

A sudden rustle brought a gasp and interrupted her gaze.

Lifting her head she locked gazes with a raven.

Her eyes pinched with pain but she couldn’t shut them.

The raven opened its maw cackling laughter like an old man making her jump.


  1. Semlor by JC Martinez

House Åkerström is a haunted house on the outskirts of the next town. Everybody knows it, and everyone has a different version of what happened there almost nine years ago. Of course, what I am about to tell you is the undisputed truth.

Viola Åkerström moved there with her two kids, Daniel and Martin, eleven years ago. As a means of sustenance, she decided to condition her home’s garage as a little store. A bakery. The variety was scarce. The kanelbullar, which were simple cinnamon rolls, were the ones she produced the most, and she only accompanied them with some gingerbread cookies and a few other traditional candies. Still, she was quite successful.

Maybe it was the seasoning with which she fixed the desserts, or the exotic sensation you got when buying sweets that had a deliciously foreign name, but her little establishment triumphed and flourished. She even competed with Morton’s, which has been an institution in pastries and candies in this region for over six decades.


  1. SMELETONS by Sumiko Saulson

The rotting meat began to stink of five day old hamburger before long. That was when it attracted maggots. The fervent breeding of the insect life that occupied the corpses caused them to writhe in a way that almost simulated breathing.

That’s when the vegan witch Hespeth walked by and saw them. Thinking that perhaps a young calf had survived, she ran towards the deep pit filled with rotting animal bodies. Hespeth was so disgusted when she found out that it was no living mammal, but the insect life infesting the dead carcasses, that she immediately hexed the place. She’d been meaning to for a while. Vegan witches hate slaughterhouses.

The accursed skeletons lurched forth from their graves. The stink of rotting meat was cloying. A cloud of green malodorous E.coli bacterial surrounded them. Soon, the maggots began to hatch, sending out waves of hungry, carnivorous flies.


  1. When the Wind Leaves a Whisper by Jess Landry

When I was just about to fall asleep, Rita sprung out of her sleeping bag, gasping for breath.

“Louise…louiseeeee!” she whispered as loud as she could.

“What?” I mumbled, the taste of sleep in my mouth. “What is it?”

“Do you hear that?”

I sat up rubbing my eyes, a yawn escaping. Crickets chirped back.

“Hear what?”

A little drip of moonlight trickled around the tent, casting shadows of the trees on our tent. Rita was nothing more than a silhouette, her head jerking from side to side.

“That!” she said a little louder, her head spinning to the back of the tent. “Something’s trying to get in.”

I was fully awake now, my eyes adjusted to the darkness as best as they could. Outside I could see the shadows of some branches as they danced in the light wind. Nothing seemed out of place.

“There it is again!” she spun her head the other direction, jumping out of her sleeping bag and scrambling next to me. “Look!”


 

Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW Top 6 Character Descriptions

These are the top 6 Character excerpts from the Character challenge.

Character 1: Silt and Bone by Jess Landry

Growths of moss and cobwebs littered the branches, the falling water wiping some of them away into the rising water.
On the throne sat a motionless woman who looked as though she’d been carved from a birch tree. Her delicate features and ashen skin shimmered in the struggling light; dark, horizontal lines and black knots speckled every inch of her visible surface, even her eyelids. Roots spilled from her head: five long, thick stems that thinned out as they joined the mosaic of branches behind her. Her arms lay on the armrests, strangely human yet twisted like intertwining branches, leading to slender fingers that extended into thin twigs sharp enough to slice through skin and bone. Her forehead extended past that of a human’s, ending in a ragged, broken trunk—a crown of flesh and bark. A burlap robe lay across her body, the fabric eaten away by time; its hem resting at the pedestal’s edge, nearly touching the dirty water that lapped at her feet.


Character 2: Kerry Anne by Harry Husbands
“Ok,” she said and held out a grimy hand tipped by ragged fingernails. I placed a glove on and clasped her fragile fingers. Her bare feet pattered the diner’s floor, leaving smudged prints with every step. We walked from the silent diner and I pitied the people as they began to whisper among themselves, unaware of their own fast-approaching demise.

As we stepped outside, the heat washed over me. She squinted at the empty car-park, the motorway with cars that rushed along it.

“There’s no one,” she said. I looked down at her as she turned her face to mine and grinned, revealing teeth that jutted out; crooked and covered in thick, yellow gunk. “You didn’t call for back-up?” she asked, creasing her brow. I shook my head and squeezed her hand tighter. She laughed in a chesty way that reminded me of my grandfather and belied the small, filthy face it came from. “Oh, you are silly,” she giggled.


Character 3: Changeling by Daphne Strasert

She stretched, even as she shrank. Her limbs grew spindly, the flesh sticking to her bones so that her joints protruded in bulbous relief. The skin greyed, then tinted green, turning the color of mint. Her hair grew and grew and grew, the curls unfurling as it did, until it pooled around her. The red drained from the strands, starting at the roots, as if an artery had been cut and all the color ran out leaving only a shimmering, silky lake of silver. Moss green spots replaced the dusting of freckles over her face and shoulders. The afternoon light that filtered through the gauzy curtains bounced off iridescent scales that had sprouted over her collar bones. Sharp cheekbones jutted from her face and her jaw and chin narrowed, giving her the triangular visage of a praying mantis. The fingers that held her phone in front of her face lengthened and her nails, once neatly trimmed, grew into wicked, curved claws.


Character 4: Dr. Sonya Quillius by Jonathan Fortin

The sight agitated Sonya. Cat claws retracted out from her fingertips, and she dragged them against the rooftop. It was a nervous tic. When she’d been human, she’d bit her nails when she was anxious, but after her Biotranscendence, she’d taken to dragging her claws across surfaces. They were supposed to be as strong and sharp as blades, and they certainly cut watermelons well enough. But would they cut through flesh so easily?

 

Sonya’s wolf ears perked up, a stomping sound catching their attention. She tried to remain calm, to remind herself how much was at stake, but this only made her more tense. Her performance tonight didn’t just determine her own fate, or that of the victims down there. It also impacted her fellow scientists—those who had helped her Biotranscend, who had believed in this crazy plan of hers even if it put their careers on the line.


Character 5: Selkie by Adele Marie Park

Selkie. Shape shifter.

He shouldn’t exist yet here he is in the flesh.

Wicked and delicious, taunting me, daring me to take the step I refuse to take.

As he watches me arrogance glimmers in his gaze. His almond shaped eyes have no colour. They are as black as a storm cloud but, like a bruised sky colours move within. Flashing with brilliance then hiding.

His dark plum lips rise at one side in a sneer I know so well.

The movement causes a strand of ebony hair to cascade over his high cheekbones with a lovers boldness.

Raising a small hand to brush it away, the gesture reveals his webbing. Nestled between his fingers as delicate as a butterfly’s wing.

He knows my eyes study him. I wish I could hide the wealth of confusion but, my emotions have always been easy to read and he is a master.


Character 6: Cerebus by Sumiko Saulson

I still recall the day we became. It was morning, first light at the brink of a new age. We arose on twisted leg and shattered hoof from the pit of charred flesh and misguided magic where the Diablo Nuclear Power Plant used to stand. Your head listed against one side of our shoulders, neck too weak to hold it up. In time, the surface of your cheek grew into the side of my jaw. It lay there for months on end, your abraded epidermis merging into an open wound on my chin until the two of us became one.

Angel lay in the crook of my arm, where he used to sleep when we lived as separate entities. A mass of fur and ligament, he purred where he rested, staring up at me with a signal yellow-green eye, as bright as a nuclear sunset. I contemplated it’s palette of subtle complexities as we lurched forward in unison towards the feeding grounds.

 


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW Top 7 True Horrific Blog Posts

These are the top 7 blog post excerpts from the True Horrific challenge.

Blog Post 1: Black Death – Naching T. Kassa

Death is the ultimate enemy. It steals those we love and forms a wall between this world and the next. It is the dark curtain we cannot peer behind.

Death waits for us all.

Do you remember the first time you encountered death? Did the passing of a pet or grandparent reveal its presence? When did you discover your mortality? How old were you?

My discovery began with a young girl’s demise. I was nine.

The girl was two years younger and lived a few miles away from me. We attended the same school and, though we didn’t know each other, she struck me as a sweet person.

Her hair was blonde. It stood out against the white sweaters and dresses she wore. I don’t think she wore white all of the time but I remember her that way. Perhaps, it’s because she was innocent and didn’t deserve what happened to her.


Blog Post 2: A Day at the Beach – Harry Husbands

I saw it first as a light shape that teetered just below the waterline a few meters ahead of me—large and circular. I moved forward, eager to become acquainted with this mysterious object and soon regretting my decision as the giant crab floated into view. I observed its vast body in horror—roughly the size of a tire with two black eyes that stared straight at me. I screamed to no one—entirely beyond earshot of any adult who might come to my aid. Its pincers rose above the water, snapping like malicious, orange hedge shears.

            I turned and slapped the sea, moving only as fast as my bronze swimming certificate would allow. I didn’t look back; I hadn’t needed to. I could feel its tough pincers brushing my legs. When my toes could reach the ocean’s bed, I tried to run. My legs seemed to move in slow-motion as the giant crab gained on me.


Blog Post 3: Calling the Dead – Cat Voleur

More than anything, I remember the sound the doll made when it burned. The events leading up to that moment were a haze of adrenaline masking fear of what I had done, distrust, and confusion. Memories of the decision to play this game with a ghost, of preparing for it, even of the ritual itself have all but entirely faded in the seven years I’ve neglected to tell this story, but I will remember that sound until the day I die. The unearthly hissing of death mingling with the crackling fire haunts my dreams, still.

I was fifteen years old. All my life I had been fascinated with the supernatural, particularly spirits. I was the proud of veteran of many such ghost-games, Bloody Mary, Candyman, The Elevator Game, but in my years of trying to endanger myself, I hadn’t seen or summoned anything spectacular. I had no reason to believe this would be any different.


Blog post 4: Syncope – JC Martinez

We stopped when she said she wasn’t feeling so well. I thought she was just tired, or that she had no desire to continue running. We were at a park close to her flat, so I walked her back home. We still had to climb four flights of stairs. She opened the door, took a couple of steps forward, and stopped next to a black leather sofa.

I spoke from under the door. I asked if she was all right. She didn’t answer. She turned as I approached. When I was near her, she just collapsed. No alerts, no warnings, it was as if her body suddenly shut off. I was able to catch her as she was falling. In my nervousness, I thought she was pulling a prank on me. I kept calling her name, asking her to get back on her feet. Then I saw them.

I’ll never forget the dull eyes of that empty look.


Blog post 5: Into the Grave – Daphne Strasert

Though the ossuary was massive, only a corner was set aside for public display. To get there required a fifteen-minute walk along a winding stone path. Lighting was scarce in the tunnels, with only the sporadic bulb to chase away the shadows that grew like cobwebs along the stone. My steps slowed, feet lingering as if the dark sucked at them like mud, and I found myself outpaced by my incidental companions. With no sound but a drip which seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere, my heartbeat pounded in my ears, almost deafening in this neighborhood of the dead. The darkness here had weight, pressing in on me on all sides. I trailed my hand along the damp stone edge—needing the solid reassurance that I had not walked out of the catacombs and into perdition by mistake—until the soft glimmer of light reappeared around another winding corner.


Blog post 6: My Life as a Young Adult Urban Horror Heroine – Sumiko Saulson

“Help!” the man with the matted hair screamed. “They put out my eye! They put out my eye!” A white man in his mid-thirties, obviously homeless, was screaming and holding his face. His beige shirt was stained with sweat, the long sleeve across his face stained with mucous. Just a child, I was tuned into his crying. I sat there, aghast, as my mom lectured my brother.

When he removed his hand from his face, his screams were joined by my own. His eye was a mass of red, welted flesh. Blood and ruined ocular tissue were visible from my uncomfortable seat. I kept trying to understand why they wouldn’t help him.  Was it because he was homeless? I remembered sitting next to a homeless man on the bus. His khaki pants were stained and smelled of urine. They didn’t serve people like that at Denny’s, but surely they would help him? They had to!

“They took my eye!”


Blog Post 7: Dogs and Sand – Jonathan Fortin

My memories of our first visit are murky, but they are unsettling to me. I remember harsh wind, blowing sand across me like a net–as though the beach wanted to cover me in itself, to claim me. I remember losing my sweater in a puddle of water. I remember that, for reasons I could not recall, I responded to this by removing the rest of my clothes and crouching down to hide in the sand. I remembered that, as people passed, I barked at them like a dog.

I did not feel myself at that beach.

I was a kid, and sometimes kids do weird things. But as I left, and returned to myself, I remember feeling strangely violated and uncertain what had come over me.

A year later, we drove once more up to Port Orford, and on the way home, we returned to that beach. When I learned we would be going back, dread swelled within me.

 


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW Top 7 Music Horror Story Excerpts

These are the top 7 story excerpts from the Music Horror challenge.

Story #1 Cherry Blossoms and Yokai by Adele Marie Park
This is the story about a young girl, her mother, and Uncle who are all mourning the death of her grandmother. While cleaning out her house, they find a chest that belonged to her great-grandmother. In the chest is a shamisen (Japanese guitar) that calls yokai (Yōkai are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits and demons in Japanese folklore.)

This passage is from near the end. The girl has unknowingly released yokai into their house by playing the shamisen. They have called in a Japanese priest and she has told her to start playing.

“As I played the first bars a warm feeling grew inside my tummy and even mum shrieking didn’t phase me.

I glanced at her. She was staring at something behind me. I turned my head around as far as I could while still playing. There was someone behind me. Fear woke the bird as I recognised the kimono Great grandmother Shiori wore. I felt a light touch on my shoulder.

“Play.” I heard her voice but inside my head.

I kept going as two mouth came in with her hands outstretched as if she had no control over her movements. She wailed as she was sucked into the shamisen.

The floor under me started to rumble. I felt the movement travel through my body.

Loud bangs came from upstairs followed by screams that made me play a wrong note.

“Strength,” great grandmother, Shiori said.

An almighty racket shook everything that wasn’t nailed down. It sounded as if a giant ran down the stairs.

Onibaba flew into the room. God she was ugly. Her knife dripped red onto the carpet as she glanced around her. Opening her mouth I could see rows of sharp teeth and remembered that she could kill us.”


Story #2: Scordatura by Jess Landry
Which is a certain way of tuning a stringed instrument. The daughter of a famous cellist practices for an upcoming concert under the heavy hand of her famous mother. Unable to play the cello because of an illness, the famous cellist forces her dream on her daughter who practices dutifully despite her mother’s abuse. When the daughter realizes she wields power over others with her musical gifts, revenge is finally hers.

Odette starts the morning with Bach’s Cello Suite No.1 in G major.

The cold cello strings fit snuggly into the self-made grooves of her fingers like a second home. Down-bow, up-bow, she lets her elbow guide the stroke, the music spill from her like a river of her blood pouring from an open wound. She wonders how that would feel, the blood gushing from her body, out of her shell and pooling at her feet. Would it seep through the herringbone floor? Would it collect in the unused space between her room and the room below, her mother’s study? Would it pool and pool and press down on the intricate fleur de lis-patterned ceiling until it broke through the plaster and onto her mother, covering her in a sea of red?

She’s playing faster now, an eighth above tempo. Her brain tells her to slow but her hands refuse to listen. The cat across the way lays on his open perch, the man sipping his drink and reading the paper one floor above him. Odette longs to be that cat, to be free and lazy, to watch the world without a purpose.

Three quick taps sound from the room below–a stick to the floorboards–a first warning to keep tempo.”


Story #3 Audio Addict by Daphne Strasert

In a world where music is as illegal as heroin and just as deadly addictive, Cadence and Lorelei share music hits in the privacy of Cadence’s family hunting lodge. After paying for hits for months, Lorelei share a secret with Cadence – she can sing. Cadence and Lorelei spend lovely nights together as they binge on Lorelei’s gift, but when she decides she wants to stop, Cadence can’t control her addiction.

“Cadence wasn’t a square, but she’d attended freshman health class just like everyone else. She’d had the dangers of experimenting with music burned into her brain along with the grainy photos of ear infections. Poetry was okay, as long as no one drove under the influence. Even her parents kept a little Tennyson in the locked cabinet by their bed that they thought Cadence didn’t know about. Rap was a greyer area. Audioheads in Colorado were always going on about helping soldiers with PTSD and legalization, but that was a long way from any sort of federal recognition. Cadence’s parents would flip if they knew she’d listened to a small hit to unwind after last semester’s finals.

Lorelei always brought the hits. Everyone knew someone who knew someone who sold rap, but music was harder to come by. She said her brother got them from a DJ in the Shallows and Cadence was glad for it. She didn’t want to go to the huddled ruin of buildings where the shadows never fully receded and the sounds of sirens were always a few blocks away. It was a place that existed across America, simultaneously unique yet exactly the same in every city. And it was never somewhere good girls wanted to be after dark. Of course, a good girl wouldn’t be plugged into a guitar hit—sharing headphones and everything—in the middle of the afternoon.”


Story #4 Requiem in Frost by Jonathan Fortin

A girl and her mom move into a haunted house once owned by a heavy metal musician. When strange things start happening, the girl investigates to find out of it is the ghost of the deceased head banger or if the murderer has come back to finish them off.

This is from when the girl first sees the ghost

“When I opened my eyes, it was still dark—probably after midnight, as before. But this time, when I took off my headphones, I didn’t hear screaming. I did, however, feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

            There was someone in the room with me.

            He was tall, but barely visible. I only saw him at all because moonlight reflected off of the shiny red liquid coating his body. He wore spiked pauldrons and gauntlets, and his hair was long and ragged. His face was a ghoulish mess of scars, facial hair, skeletal makeup, and open bleeding wounds.

            He was dripping all over the floor. Drippiest of all was the huge ax in his hand. I worried suddenly where all that blood had come from—if this was just how he looked, or if he’d just butchered someone. Mom…was Mom all right?

            Only then did it dawn on me that the ghost could harm me. Perhaps it should have been obvious, but I’d never felt threatened until that moment. I felt paralyzed in bed, fearing he would kill me, that he’d killed my mom.

            He walked closer to the bed, his huge ax dripping a red river across my bedroom floor. All too quickly he was right beside me, raising that ax high.”


Story #5 Audition by Naching T. Kassa

Jim auditions for a place with the band and will do anything to get the spot, but when they send him to a mysterious address to be tested, he has second thoughts. A lesson with a blues legend is the least of his worries as he finds himself trapped, with only one way out. Will the cost for freedom be too high?

“An hour later, having left the theater, Jim found himself blinded by California sunshine. The dirt road crunched under his tires and trees whooshed by as he sped along. These sounds, along with the hum of the Mustang’s engine, were the soundtrack to his thoughts.

Where had Langham sent him? And to who? He shouldn’t have ended with the blues rift. If he’d gone with a more traditional coda, he might’ve passed the audition. Now, he was out in the sticks on a wild goose chase.

An old fashioned wrought iron gate suddenly rose ahead of him. It stood dark and skeletal against the pink sky. Jim slowed. Brass numbers were fixed to the bars and they matched the address he’d been given. He parked, pulled his phone from his pocket, and dialed.

Langham answered on the second ring.

“There must be some mistake,” Jim said. “Nobody lives here.”

“There are people there,” Langham answered.

“Yeah, they’re six-feet under. It’s a cemetery.””


Story 6: The Agent by Harry Husbands

A mediocre rock band performs, waiting for the appearance of “the Agent” of unknown origin. When he appears, he offers the band a sort of “deal with the devil” proposal they can’t refuse.

The bed looked welcoming and I walked forward, ready to collapse, when I saw him and back pedalled, holding a hand to my mouth.

            “Don’t,” the agent said. His voice belied his appearance, a high-pitched shrill with rising Texan accent. I backed myself into the corner beside the door. I tried to scream but the air had left my lungs, instead I writhed around, gasping and reaching for the handle. “Don’t,” he repeated.

            He came into view, blocking out the light. His coat hung about his person like a carcass and the fur seemed to move in waves with an absent breeze. His black Stetson was old and rugged; from my seat, I could see two eyes like a shark’s beneath it, as devoid of colour and life as his attire. His skin was dirty white and leathery in appearance, stretched out over his enormous body. I stared up. Fear gripped me to the spot.

            The agent began floating toward me, coming within a foot of my cowering form. A bead of sweat dripped from the end of my nose as my whole body shook. He bent down to my face. A thick, suffocating aroma of coal smoke emanated from his person.’


Story #7 The Lament of the Piano Man by AE Kirk
A homeless man breaks into the local Haunted House to take refuge, but when he hears piano music coming from an upper room, he realizes he might not be alone.

“‘In here.’ The voice came from within a nearby room. With the floorboards threatening to fracture beneath his weight, Bert went across the landing and entered the first room on the left. He gasped in awe. It was as though he had gone back in time. The room was completely untouched from damp and decay, every the old olive coloured wallpaper was still intact. The furniture was free from dust, the carpets were in pristine condition, and a gigantic shiny grand piano sat in the middle of the room, like a crown jewel.

‘Such an amazing room,’ Bert whispered to himself. The unnamed pasty man, who was standing lovingly by the piano, nodded.

‘This is the music room.’ He gestured around him, and Bert stole a glance at the walls.

They were adorned in old framed certificates and achievements of musical accomplishments. From grades in piano to degrees in music, and clippings from news articles about playing at the opera. They all mentioned the same name, Matthew Day. Bert was truly astonished.

‘Everything downstairs is nothing compared to this. It’s all rotting and full of mould.’

The man frowned. ‘I plan to rectify that… when I have enough help from the locals.’

Bert snapped his fingers. ‘The local boys! I heard they come in… Do they help you?’

The man smiled, though it didn’t reach his eyes. ‘Oh, they help alright. But one at a time and they only come at night. You are here during the day, that’s most peculiar.’”

 


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW Top 6 Poetry Excerpts

These are the top 6 poems from the Horror Poetry challenge.

Poem 1:  Under the Water by Sumiko Saulson
Over sea, floating ye, staying abreast of watery crests

Midwinter air caresses curls unfurling over briny sea

Cool wet skin, paper thin… I can see your soul within

Every capillary pumping blood, intestinal processes digesting food

Your loving heart plain to see… how intimate your transparency

 

A sea-deep mystery, stories untold, windows into your ancient soul,

Your eyes speckled, flecks of gold cascading within jet black coal

Encasing your exquisite charms, enfolded within my fragile arms,

I am the contemplator of your delicacy, hear ye now my mortal pleas

May your ethereal heart, thorny spine and eternal love be ever mine

 

Adrift on my back, your tentative fingers in mine entwined

Long slender tail wrapped around my thighs, tendrils twixt toes

The smooth flesh of your undercarriage where barnacles grow

My flesh puckers where their tiny mouths burrow into my skin

Digesting the healthy white blood cells within


Poem 2: Siren’s Song by Riley Pierce
Through crashing waves and dying light

I fight, I fight, I fight the night.

Many begged to turn away,

But on this final course I stay.

 

The siren sings again tonight,

And so I wait until I might,

Find her perched upon the rocks,

With eyes of red, and golden locks.

 

She’ll sing her song, but just to me.

I’ll belong to both her and the sea.

My crew, at last, they hear her song,

And I’ll be hers before too long.

 

Mystic music through the air;

It moves like wind and lingers there.

It seeps into their ears, my crew.

Yes! My god! The tales are true.

 

The moon is up, it pulls the tide,

And our wooden ship from side to side.

The wind has blown, all light is gone.

This ship will not survive the dawn.

 

A sacrifice to her, I bring,

Shall earn me last to see her sing.


Poem 3: Flesh Passion by Fiend Gottes
All my desires, I’ve fulfilled them all
A deviant well overflowing from hell
Demons speak, voices tell me all
Spewing forth they entice dark desire
Dark visions boil in my mind
Bathe in blood of the pure
Snuff life within the eyes

Dreams of death dance within my mind
With my hands I strangle out their life
Yearning to know
Where is my sorrow

Then I saw
Beauty profound
I felt confusion
Ache in my heart
Time stood still
Could she be?
Warmth in the cold
Or merely a dream


Raven hair floats upon the breeze
Electric blue eyes mesmerize me
Olive skin glistens by the moon
Her soul cries a song only I hear
The voices tell me she is mine
For me to taste, me alone
Heart no longer stone

Feel her flesh
Vanquish her light
Eternal smile
Echo of her screams
My need to feel
Her last moment
My need to feel
Something pure


Poem 4: A Warning on Wings by Jonathan Fortin
His prayer was drawn in blood, the circle like a door

He sat beside the threshold, book open on the floor

This will never work, to himself he sighed

But he was so lonely that every night he cried

 

He was a somber man, not blessed with good looks

Hated by his village, he found solace in books

Tonight he stripped naked, legs crossed, arms spread

He whispered the words that from the pages bled:

“For you I’d be the greatest that I could ever be

I would do it all, anything you ask of me.”

 

The circle was no prison; he did not seek a slave

Nor mindless copulation, which would bore him to the grave

No, he sought the thing that was most beyond his reach:

A love felt too deeply to be bought or breached.


Poem 5: The Only Thing That Remains by Jess Landry
Summertime blossoms as you take your first steps

onto a path laced with dirt and stone.

Though your feet know the way,

your heart’s lost count as to how many times

you’ve walked this forgotten road,

you’ve watched the sun rise,

you’ve heard the same birdsong echo from the trees.

A leafy canopy sways high above,

a cathedral ceiling with light piercing through.

Lilacs in bloom follow the morning breeze;

olive grass as high as your dress’s frayed hem

ebb and flows like the sea,

the wind teasing them along to its silent rhythm.

Your hands swing at your sides and you breathe in,

remembering what it was to take a breath,

remembering how he took it away the first time you met—

steely eyes, blithesome smile—

how his touch was as warm as the sun’s.

The path clears to an opening,

an unkempt field forgotten by man and time,

and there he stands,

as always,

like a lighthouse on a cliff of a pear-coloured ocean.


Poem 6: A Vampire and a Zombie by AE Kirk
I shall tell you a tale of a romance most deluded,

Between a zombie and a vampire and nothing else included,

They once came together during the end of the world,

The vampire was a man and we think the zombie was a girl,

 

He tried to attack her, but all she did was groan,

He bit her rotten skin, all she did was moan,

He pulled back and frowned, looked at her dry-bloodied face,

Flicking the maggots off, she was the last of the human race,

 

She had no toes and half of a head,

She was the only body to keep him warm in his bed,

And although she craved no blood, nor food, or sleep,

He made up his mind, for her he would keep,

 

They went for long walks; rotting corpses did they pass,

They played with dead dogs, birds, cats it was a blast!

Then every evening, they sat and stared,

At the crumbling city around them, which they could never compare


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW 500-Word WINNER! Harry Husbands

Winner for episode #139

VIRTUAL REALITY IS REVOLUTIONISING HORROR

by Harry Husbands

This winner’s entry will be read an discussed in full
on the Cemetery Confessions podcast, June 2nd, 2017.

Here is just a taste of the blog:

“Imagine you enter a theatre in the year 2025 and take a seat. In front of you is a device that you place on your head and over your ears. Your vision is blackened. Thirty minutes of adverts begin because some things just never change. Eventually the film starts and you’re in a corridor where the lightbulb flickers and a putrid smell of rotting meat wafts to your nostrils. You are creeping forward when the light goes out completely. There’s icy breath on the back of your neck. You not only hear it but you feel it too…” Hear more on Cemetery Confessions June 2nd.


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net

#NGHW 300-Word WINNER! Naching T. Kassa

Winner for episode #138

The Laughing Man

by Naching T. Kassa

The heart was still warm when I found it near the latrines. It hung from the barbwire fence like some hellish Christmas ornament, dripping blood into the muck below. I wasn’t sure who it belonged to.

It might’ve been Private Jefferson’s or Lieutenant Blackmore’s. They’d gone missing and Sargent Collins had laid the blame on the Hun’s doorstep. I knew the truth, though. My mum had told me long before I took up my gun and gasmask.

“Go to sleep, Johnny,” she’d said one night before bed. “Sleep before Laughing Man comes. If he catches you awake, he’ll rip your heart out and hang it up to dry.”

“Does he come every night,” I had asked.

“He does. If you smell almonds, he’s coming. And, if you hear him whisper your name, he’s testing to see whether you’re awake.”

“What if I can’t sleep?”

“Best pretend, love. Pretend and pray.”

The memory of her words kept me from the trench and the squirming shadows which filled it. I returned to my dug-out as quickly as I could.

The blanket had grown cold in my absence. I huddled under it and would’ve drifted off if the scent of almonds hadn’t wafted in.

“Johnny?” a voice whispered.

I froze. Something moved in the moonlight. It dropped to all fours and peered through my doorway.

“You awake, Johnny?”

Moonglow didn’t favor the creature. Instead, it laid bare every flaw in his leprous face. I shut my eyes but the image of oozing sores remained. He hadn’t changed.

“Johnny?”

I answered with a snore as I had always done. A moment later, his cold hand clutched my throat.

“I’ve always known you were awake,” he said.

Laughter echoed throughout the dug-out and, like a malevolent lullaby, it bore me to my final rest.


Listen to the contestants battle for points this season on HorrorAddicts.net