Tagged: Evan Baughfman

Unholy Trinity: “Frank Harrow, Discount Occult Detective” By Joshua Ginsberg

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.


Frank Harrow, Discount Occult Detective

Got a supernatural crisis on your hands, but short of funds? More people than you could possibly imagine turn to Frank Harrow and The Four-Pointed Star Discount Occult Detective Agency to get the job done. Frank Harrow is a name you can trust. Mostly.


New Business Maybe


Frank Harrow appraised the couple through a hangover fog and five o’clock shadow that was getting on to midnight. At least they’d called ahead, giving him time to run a load of laundry.

He read the subtext of misery and desperation in their story and etched in their faces. It was all that ever brought folks to The Four-Pointed Star, Discount Occult Detective Agency.

“We just need to find our son,” the willowy blond said.

“…wherever, …whatever, he is now,” her dark-haired wife finished.

Frank didn’t want the case, didn’t like it. But he needed it.

“Give me twenty-four hours.”


Meeting at the Greenwood


It was for a favor that Frank had come to seek his former partner.

He refilled their rocks glasses, watched his old friend lift it to his blackened lips.

“Hey, remember that ghoul that couldn’t keep a low profile?”

Dylan laughed a cloud of dust. “Dumbass kept snatching bites from Hollywood Forever. Look folks, there’s Judy Garland! Oh, wait, there goes Valentino.”

The laughter faded. “Look Dylan, I got a new case, maybe. Can you run a background check for me?”

“Yeah, but you still owe me,” Dylan replied, poking a bony finger through a bullet hole in his shirt.


Case Accepted


The couple sat waiting on Frank’s decision.

“I’m different from other firms,” he began, “in that I’m a lot less money and a lot more still alive. I plan to stay that way.”

He gauged their reactions.

“Discount don’t mean free. Cash only, upfront. No credit, no souls, no exceptions. You want some other kind of help, there’s a crossroads down the way…”


From the cavernous, candle-lit cellar of a decaying mansion nearby, four hooded figures watched the deal conclude through an ancient mirror. 

“He’s taken the bait,” grinned the high priestess.

And the darkness whispered a promise of vengeance.


Joshua Ginsberg

Joshua Ginsberg is the author of Secret Tampa Bay: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure (2020), Tampa Bay Scavenger (2021), Oldest Tampa Bay (2022), and co-author of Secret Orland: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure (2023). His work has appeared in numerous print and online publications including Trembling with Fear (The Horror Tree), The Chamber Magazine, The City Key, 365 Tomorrows, and Atlas Obscura. He currently lives in Tampa with his wife, Jen, and their Shih Tzu, Tinker Bell.

Unholy Trinity: “Jumping Ship” “In Charge” & “Tourist Season” by Evan Baughfman

Our church worships at the altar of the Unholy Trinity. Its gospels are delivered as a trio of dark drabbles, linked so that Three become One. All hail the power of the Three.


Jumping Ship


There was life for Benny back on land! A future! He had to save himself!

If the others were meant to survive, they would’ve dodged Benny’s blows, would’ve grabbed the life preserver before he did.

As desperate pleas submerged under dark, roiling water, Benny thanked God, clinging to his circular savior. 

Nearby, a keeling vessel slumped to its grave, bow jutting moonward. 

Torrents of screeching rats spilled overboard.

Frantic for a flotation device, the stowaways swam for Benny. Gnashing, red-eyed waves overtook him, smothering his cries.

Bobbing in the wake of disaster, Benny choked on vermin in search of sanctuary.


In Charge


Bright sunshine. Flourishing foliage. Wonderful hike.

A roar shook me, silencing birdsong.

A grizzly exploded from green cover, straight ahead. Charged.

I shouted, aimed a cannister of protective spray. 

Irritant struck the animal’s eyes, snout. Even so, the beast barreled forward, swatting me aside.

I soared into briar, dropping spray. Landed on my backpack, overturned tortoise, powerless in a thorny thicket.

The bear continued its race. Vanished between trees. 

That roar, however, still approached. 

Not a grizzly’s bellow.

Something else’s. Something larger.

Heavy footsteps found me. An impossible figure loomed.

Bears fled this fanged abomination, true ruler of the woods.


Tourist Season


Well past midnight, the newlyweds cuddled lakeside across from Congress Avenue Bridge. Pierre marveled at tiny silhouettes twirling in moonlight. Anais shivered in the Texas heat.

She said, “Sorry, didn’t come to Austin for rabies. Let’s grab another drink…”

“We’re perfectly safe. At dusk, there would’ve been a huge crowd here, watching a million-plus bats leave their roosts all at once.”

Four creatures banked toward the couple. Encircled gobsmacked Pierre and cowering Anais. Transformed into imposing pale figures.

“Love taking holiday here,” one hissed.

“So easy to blend in,” another agreed.

“So many tourists.” 

“So many new flavours to try.”


Evan Baughfman

Evan Baughfman is a Southern California teacher, author, and playwright. A number of Evan’s plays are published through Heuer Publishing, YouthPLAYS, Next Stage Press, and Drama Notebook. Evan has also found success writing horror fiction, his work found recently in anthologies by Critical Blast Publishing, No Bad Books Press, and Grinning Skull Press. Evan’s short story collection, The Emaciated Man and Other Terrifying Tales from Poe Middle School, is published through Thurston Howl Publications. His novella, Vanishing of the 7th Grade, is available through D&T Publishing. D&T has also published his novel, Bad for Your Teeth. More info is available at amazon.com/author/evanbaughfman.