Another week and another set of stories to enjoy. Hopefully, next week I’ll be able to make the incredibly delayed announcement for a partial expansion of ‘Trembling With Fear!’ On a fun side note, I’m actually getting caught up on submissions for both short stories and drabbles!
‘Trembling With Fear’ Is Horror Tree’s weekly inclusion of shorts and drabbles submitted for your entertainment by our readers! As long as the submissions are coming in, we’ll be posting every Sunday for your enjoyment.Stuart Conover
Silver & White
The man didn’t want to be up here on these floors. It was too noisy, too busy, too loud. There were too many people, too many sensations. He tried to tune it out, worked hard to keep his gaze firmly lowered as he pushed past the nurses in their trim, white uniforms. He prayed they wouldn’t stop him, wouldn’t question him, and they didn’t. They paid him no mind, just smiled and nodded as they wheeled the sick and decaying along faded linoleum on rattling, silver wheelchairs.
The elevators seemed to take an eternity to arrive. The man could do nothing but wait, his heartbeat thundering in his ears like a distant, late summer storm. It was during this eternity that he began to doubt himself, began to waiver. Yet despite the strong urge to run, as soon as the elevator finally dinged its hollow sound and the silver doors slid open with a shake, the man stepped inside without hesitation.
It was the air. That was the first thing he noticed upon exiting the elevator. The air was sterile. The smell of nothingness intermingled with an occasional whiff of ammonia or the sour stench of bleach. It filled the hallway. The man could almost feel it seeping into his pores, clinging to his clothes. He hurried on, not looking back.
The door handle was cold to the touch, as was the door, and when he opened it, he was met with more of the icy chill, like a tangible manifestation of his own inner soul.
He examined his surroundings. All was silver and white. Polished metal cabinets lined the walls. Trays with silver tools sat upon silver tables with clean white tablecloths draped about them. The room was utterly dead, and the man knew all who dwelt within were dead as well. As he turned to take in more of the still room, he was met with his own reflection in a thin silver mirror over a white porcelain sink. It was a startling sliver of life in an otherwise lifeless setting. He almost didn’t recognize himself and started suddenly at the image staring back at him. He was thin and homely, with sunken in cheeks and eyebrows too bushy for his long, plain face. He was wearing plain clothes, plain shoes, had a plain haircut…in fact, his entire being was screaming out in plain. His manner suggested a shy, fragile man who probably had little contact with the outside world. He had never had a girlfriend, or even a true friend for that matter. He was the one picked on at school, the one always average but never above. He was the person everyone looked at on the bus but never really noticed. He was a tired, scared little man who had finally gone off the deep end but was afraid of drowning, and it showed in his every hesitant movement and gesture.
He maneuvered cautiously through the silver and white room, carefully winding his way around the metal tables until he arrived at the far wall. This far wall was silver like the rest of the room. Cold, metallic, lifeless, it had large drawers all along its face with numbers and letters scribbled above silver handles on pieces of white tape. Trembling, the man reached out and grabbed one of the handles. He gingerly pulled. It slid open without a sound, and the man gasped. The sudden intake of cold air made him cough, and as he coughed, he turned to see another man standing just a few yards away with another drawer from the long silver wall open in front of him.
As he turned, the other man turned as well, and their eyes locked. Immediately, a sheepish, embarrassed look crossed both men’s faces. Ashamed, they reacted as if they wanted to turn away, but some force seemed to hold them locked in a helpless, awkward stare. The one was a fractured, mirror image of the other, as were the compulsions that led them both to this cold room in the dead of night. Slowly and deliberately, both men pushed the drawers back into the long wall and stepped away. Without a word, the stranger then quietly retreated into the shadows. A moment later, a door creaked, and he was gone.
The remaining man stood rigid and still, breathing in the silence. He looked down at his hands intently, held them in his gaze for a long moment, then reached over and picked up a silver tray from a nearby table. He watched as his reflection distorted and cascaded, morphing into hideous caricatures. Terrified, he dropped the tray, and for the first time in his adult life, unlocked the door hiding all of his innermost secrets, needs, desires, and emotions, screaming the scream of a dead man.
Watched by dead eyes, me and Billy crack open the crypt’s padlocks.
Our bag tinkles with cans; this is as exciting as it comes in our little
‘Ladies first,’ Billy sniggers.
We stretch out across the tombs. I’m lying on a Knight.
We drink, smoke and cuddle. I shouldn’t do the first two though. Not in
Behind me I hear a rustle. Turning I spot her- bloodstained dress,
bashed in head, blue lips.
She looks familiar. I turn to Billy. ‘Is that…?’
No warning; his fists pulverise my skull.
Like trash, he stows me away. Smiling constantly.
Alyson trained originally in the UK as a teacher/tutor. She wrote a couple of children’s books which were published by Collins and Ginn. Now she lives near Bronte terrain in Yorkshire with her teen son, partner and 3 rescue cats. She writes noir Flash Fiction (some of which is published online) and spooky longer tales (3 are available for download on www.www.alfiedog). She has a collection of her Flash fiction coming out soon from Chapel Town Books in the UK. She enjoys old movies, singing, and swimming. She is a confirmed chocoholic and is still hopeless at maths. Her blog is at http://www.
Darkness and Light
The night was darker than usual.
No moon or stars lit her path.
The heat from the sun had lingered.
Carrying her coat in her arms she didn’t hear him creep up behind her.
There were no streetlights to cast a glimmer on the blade he raised and plunged it deep into her back.
She crumpled to the ground. Her screams muffled by the pungent hand held firmly over her mouth.
Piercing evil eyes met her panic as the knife sank through her flesh, stabbing her heart.
A bright light caught her eyes as her last breath left her body.
Amanda J Evans
Amanda J Evans writes paranormal and fantasy novels as well as children’s stories. Amanda lives in Oldcastle, Co. Meath, Ireland with her husband and two children. She was published in several journals and anthologies in 2016. Her first novel Finding Forever was published in 2017 and her forthcoming title Save Her Soul will be released in the summer of 2017. Amanda has also secured a publishing deal with Handersen Publishing for a children’s book and this will be released in the fall, 2017. Amanda is the author of *Surviving Suicide: A Memoir from Those Death Left Behind, *published in 2012. You can find out more on her website www.amandajevans.com.
Time of Death
I wake to find myself in a nightmare. Instead of my bedroom, I’m in a white room with dozens of other people. A small man with a clipboard stares at me. On the wall there’s a number. 10.38.
“103. Below average.”
“The total should be closer to 107.”
“Deaths. 107 deaths per minute. That minute.”
He points at the number.
“So, what’s next? Judgement?”
“No. You spend eternity with those who died at the same time.”
“What about heaven?”
“No heaven, no hell. Just this. It’s the most efficient way.”
I start to scream.
R. J. Meldrum
R. J. Meldrum is an author and academic. Born in Scotland, he moved to Ontario, Canada in 2010 with his wife Sally. His interest in the supernatural is a lifetime obsession and when he isn’t writing ghost stories, he’s busy scouring the shelves of antique book-sellers to increase his collection of rare and vintage supernatural books. During the winter months, he trains and races his own team of sled dogs.
He has had stories published by Sirens Call Publications, Horrified Press, Trembling with Fear, Darkhouse Books, Digital Fiction and James Ward Kirk Fiction.
You can find out more about RJ at his homepage.