I got this one going a bit late this week due to being massively behind, thankfully it was all able to come together. As always we’re low on Drabble and I’m curious as to if any of the editors out there would be interested in a long term plan on helping out with ‘Trembling With Fear’ for weeks like this or if we were to expand next year? Please get in touch if so!
‘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
The Worm Turns
The life of a bartender is an interesting one. The pay ain’t great, but the stories you hear and the eccentric folk you see, are priceless. I bar-backed in a Gold Rush town at the foot of a mountain. It was colder than the kiss of death there, but the warm glow of gold kept the town alive. Found a few of the nuggets myself back when the boom first started. Although knowing what I know now, I would have taken that money and run until my legs were nothing but bloody stumps in the snow.
The morning started off well; the miners were in high spirits. One of them told me they found a cave deep under the mountain. The guy said it “was not natural, and looked to be made by hands other than mother nature.” Another one chimed with excitement in his voice.
“Didn’t go too far, but we saw some pictures on the floors. Like nothing I ever seen before. Looked like big coins with a mass of snakes in the center.”
It didn’t take a genius to assume they were all hoping to find the treasure of some lost civilization. I thought little of it, as long they were eating and drinking.
With the morning meal, and pint of drink in their stomachs the miners left for that cave under the mountain. It was not long after the miners that the rest of the town woke up. Cake bakers, bankers, cobblers and constables began pouring in. Most of them were relatively new. Once the word got out of the gold boom, people began showing up from all over. Almost overnight a whole town sprung to life. All was well, and all was good, until about mid-day.
A stranger walked in. He was dressed from head to toe in dark purple, silky robes, the likes of which I never saw before. Or ever again. His head was hung low and obscured by a large hood. Everyone fell silent and stared at him- If you could call it a him, or her. The figure strode silently up the bar and sat on a stool. I could feel myself start to tremble. Something was not right with this stranger. Still, I offered a drink. No need to make a tense situation worse. No reply came from the stranger. Instead, a long, ornate leather glove came out from the robes and point to a bottle of whiskey on the wall behind me. Not wanting to test the stranger’s patience I grabbed a glass and quickly poured him three fingers of whiskey on the rocks. His hand then reached into the robes for what I hoped was money when a miner burst through the door.
“Cursed Beast!” he screamed at the stranger between heavy breaths. “That monster…that monster killed everyone!” He yelled, shaking all over. His eyes darted around like a cornered animal. He aimed the revolver at the stranger, cocking the hammer with a hand that looked like there was an earthquake in his elbow. I looked down at the stranger expecting him to produce a gun of his own. The stranger looked up slightly revealing an uncanny smoothness to the face. Before he could react further, a shot rang out. The bullet caught the stranger right through the chest and embedding itself into my counter. The robed figure did not even seem to notice, and there was no blood. What happened would make any man of faith deny their god, For what diety would let something so abhorrent run amok in their creation?
The robed figure slowly crumpled to the floor and out from under those flowing silk garments came thousands of sickly grey worms. Everyone at the bar got up from their chairs and pressed themselves up against the far walls. Their eyes were wide and fixated on those dreadful writhing… Things. All at once they bolted across the towards the miner, crashing into his legs like a tidal wave. He screamed out in pain as they wriggled their way up his body. He began thrashing about in vain trying to knock them free. Nobody moved. Nobody helped him.
“Maybe they would be appeased by the miner and let us be,” they surely thought. Soon the worms covered every inch of his body and silenced his suffering wails. His body then went completely stiff. The worms continued wriggling and running their way up and down the body, and with a fluid motion the body stood.
The miner then calmly walked back across the bar and donned the dark silky robes. The gloves came next. The miner casually slid them over worm-infested hands. Then it bent down and picked up a white, pristine porcelain mask. A few people nearly fainted as it lifted the mask to it’s head. The worms slid back from the mask, revealing a freshly cleaned skull beneath. My blood ran cold at the sight of it. The miner had been picked clean. No eyes, no scalp, not a trace of tendon or hair. Even though there were no longer eyes in those sockets I could swear I could feel it staring at me.
It was at this point everyone vacated the bar. Tripping over one another trying furiously to get away from this thing. I could hear them screaming of demons beneath the dirt as they dispersed. I, on the other hand, was a little cornered the only way out was past that, unless I somehow jumped through a wall made of whiskey and solid bricks.
The thing then sat down, grabbed the glass of whiskey and slowly drank it in silence. After what felt like several lifetimes of screaming inside my own head, it sat the empty glass down. I smiled meekly and thanked it. The robed abomination nodded it’s head before reaching into robes like it tried to earlier. I backed up to the wall expecting to be the next one devoured as it did this. In it’s gloved hand were two gold coins which were then placed on the bar counter. The robed creature then stood up and strode out the door. I looked down at the coins. One was a mass of worms. The other was a skeleton in prayer.
Those two coins still sit on that counter to this day. As quickly as it sprang to life the town became abandoned. Stories of things that that writhe and bend the bones of men drove anyone who was not at the bar that day from their homes. These days I hear little about that ghost town at the foot of the cold dead mountain. Sometimes though, I hear about some bumbling fool who claimed that they were going to recover the riches hidden beneath that dreadful place. That is also where the stories always end, because none of them return.
Yea the life of a bartender is an interesting one. Sometimes a story is just a story. Sometimes a story rings true. So if one of those interesting people you meet have a porcelain face and are clothed in robes from time unknown. Then do yourself a favor and buy them a drink, lest you become food for the worms.
B.B. Blazkowicz is a carbon-based human male from planet earth, just like all of you. He writes horror fiction for the entertainment of his fellow humans and has been previously published in Horror Tree, Horror Writers and Bloody Disgusting. He enjoys ingesting the native plants and animals through his mouth hole for nourishment. His hobbies include breathing and lying in the dark with his eyes closed for eight hours a day.
A Walk In Sunlight
The sun was shining. There was a gentle breeze. The grass was green and the birds were singing. He could see the crest of the hill; he’d nearly reached the summit. That was where he’d rest and enjoy the view. He was surprised at himself, at his age he hadn’t expected to find the climb so easy.
He reached the top. Suddenly, there was a high-pitched noise. Its penetrating pitch disturbed the peace. He grimaced, his head pounding. He felt sick.
The nurse switched off the machine and the flat-line alarm ceased. The doctor spoke.
“Time of death, 9.02 p.m.”
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.
No Funny Business
Eyes wide open she awoke in darkness.
Emma tried to scream.
Bound. Gagged. Blindfolded.
Terror set in.
She swallowed it down.
“I’ll set you free if you promise to behave.”
She knew the voice.
Bloody likely lecherous fool.
She choked down the anger.
Keeping it off her face, she nodded.
A blade traced down her cheek and pushed into her neck.
“No funny business sweetheart.”
The blade cut the binding.
It cut the gag.
Finally, he leaned in to remove the blindfold.
Was the last thing he heard before she sank her teeth into his neck.
The Midwest’s very own curvaceous author of strumpets, harlots, kink, fetish, and all kinds of other illicit and fun-filled naughty activities!
You can follow her work at http://sccornett.com.
“Mommy! Dad burned the soup. “
Closing her eyes, Linda took a deep breath. The kids didn’t need to know how angry she was, again.
“That’s okay Beth. Mom will fix it. Where’s dad?”
“in his office. He hasn’t come out all afternoon. “
Of course, he hadn’t.
Walking up she tried the door. Locked. That was unusual.
Taking out a hair pin she easily opened the cheap locks they used.
Walking in, the anger rose in her voice.
The anger turned to fear as whatever was feasting upon her husband turned to her.
Hunger filling its eyes.
Stuart Conover is a father, husband, rescue dog owner, horror author, blogger, journalist, horror enthusiast, comic book geek, science fiction junkie, and IT professional. With all of that to cram in on a daily basis, it is highly debatable that he ever is able to sleep and rumors have him attached to an IV drip of caffeine to get through most days.
Oh yes, he’s also the editor at a little site known as HorrorTree.com
A resident in the suburbs of Chicago (and once upon a time in the city) most of Stuart’s fiction takes place in the Midwest if not the Windy City itself. From downtown to the suburbs to the cornfields – the area is ripe for urban horror of all facets.
You can find out more about him at: StuartConover.com.
- World Fantasy Award Nominations 2017 - July 26, 2017
- Taking Submissions: Biweekly Bite - July 26, 2017
- Taking Submissions: Menagerie de Mythique Anthology Call: Mythical Creatures Anthology - July 25, 2017
- Taking Submissions: The Asterisk Anthology—Round 4: Nautical Nightmares - July 25, 2017
- Taking Submissions: Below the Stairs – Tales from the Cellar - July 24, 2017
- Taking Submissions: Tales From the Fluffy Bunny - July 24, 2017
- ‘The Calling’ Blog Tour – Brent Abell On “Writing What You Know” - July 24, 2017
- Trembling With Fear 07/23/2017 - July 23, 2017
- Ongoing Submissions: Silver Blade Magazine - July 21, 2017
- Taking Submissions: Literary Erotica Anthology: Haunted - July 20, 2017