Trembling With Fear 03/25/2018
We are short on drabbles! If you aren’t one of our regular drabble contributors and believe that you can craft a short story in 100 words we’d love to check it out and hopefully include it! 🙂
‘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.
Phi Tai Hong Tong Klom
There was a box on Chai Son’s doorstep when he got home from work. It had been taped up tight, bearing no labels or shipping information—just a lone strip with his name on it.
He lugged it inside along with the rest of his things, taking it into the kitchen. He set the box on his island counter, got himself a drink, and then turned his attention to the mysterious item. He wondered if this was another “surprise gift” from Isra, maybe some more of her panties that she so loved to give him now and again. But the box felt too heavy for that. Maybe it had been Kalaya who left it, gifting him one of the books she prattled on about. He hoped not; he hadn’t hooked up with her for her reading recommendations.
Deciding to end what little suspense he’d felt, he grabbed a knife and cut through the layers of tape. He opened the flaps—and went still.
There was a picture inside, nestled in a gaudy golden frame. The picture was of him and a pretty young woman, her arms draped about his neck as she smiled, big and happy, and as he grinned obligingly. It had been taken on a sunny day last April, a day he only barely remembered. The woman, though, was fresh in his mind.
He pulled the frame out and set it aside, noticing two bits of paper underneath it.
The first was a newspaper clipping from two weeks ago. “Tragic Death of Pregnant Woman in Downtown Phitsanulok” served as its headline. He read the piece over, learning with only a faint hint of pity that Anchali Amudee—aged 25 and eight months pregnant at the time of the incident—had been run over by a truck. Her mother had witnessed it and refused to comment about the matter. Anchali was pronounced dead at the scene; the child she’d carried did not survive, either.
Chai Son glanced at the other slip of paper from the box and its sharply hand-written message:
She called your name as she died.
Damn you. Damn you to hell.
Chai Son set the papers down and leaned against the counter, taking a sip of his water. The words—from Anchali’s mother, no doubt—had been meant to hurt him, to drive a knife of guilt into his heart.
But its tip wouldn’t reach far enough to even knick him.
He had made his intentions clear when he and Anchali were together. He had made no commitments, had not even alluded to any. Hell, they were only together for four months. What they had was fun and just that, and that should’ve been fine. But Anchali wanted more, and when she told him she was pregnant, she probably thought she would get it. What she got was a cold bed-side; Chai Son had not signed up for fatherhood, and he was gone that night. A month and a new job offer later, he’d moved away from Phitsanulok, leaving it to Anchali.
He wasn’t glad that she and her kid had died, not by any means, but it didn’t trouble him too much, either. They’d had no place in his life—and that surely wouldn’t change now.
Once he downed his drink, Chai Son put his glass away. After that, he threw the note, the newspaper clipping, and the frame back into their box. Then he tossed it all into the trash.
He went on with his day.
At around midnight, Chai Son started hearing a sound coming from somewhere in his house. At least he thought it was, as it was rather indiscernible—a low, mumbling something. Reminiscent of a voice, but not quite that distinct.
He eventually got out of bed, trekking through the dark of his home to the living room, wondering if he’d somehow left the television on. But when he looked in there, it was off. Still, he could hear that sound.
He wandered around a bit after that, trying to find the source of the vague disturbance. It seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere, the noise keeping a steady pitch in whatever room he found himself in. His feet led him to the moonlit kitchen, where he stopped and stared about, confused.
That’s when he saw it. It was on the island counter, illuminated by a swath of blue-white light creeping in through the windows, centered and neatly placed.
It was Anchali’s picture frame. She smiled up at him from a dead past, the image of her ghostly in that ray of moonlight.
Chai Son inched up to the counter, eyes fixed on the picture and his mind reeling at how it had gotten out of the trash—of who could have gotten it out of the trash.
The thought hit him like a wallop to the gut: someone was in his house.
Then, the muffled sound started up again, but much louder this time—and from behind Chai Son.
He turned and caught his breath at the sight of the silhouetted figure coming towards him from down the hall.
It stumbled and lurched along, dragging a leg along as the other carried it forward. Its arms hung uselessly at its sides, one dangling limply and the other jutting out strangely, looking almost snapped at the forearm. A low wheeze escaped a face he could not yet see, a halo of dark, frizzy hair about it.
As the figure came closer that muffled noise kept growing louder.
Light finally fell upon the figure’s face and it was revealed in full, much to Chai Son’s terror. It was Anchali, bearing the marks of her brutal end: bloodied, sheet-white, and come back to haunt him. And, worst of all, her stomach was bulbous.
Looking at her gut, Chai Son realized what that strange sound was.
It was crying. Wailing. The sorrowful calls of his unborn child, trapped in this specter of its would-be mother.
And he knew it was calling out for him.
Anchali was coming straight after him now, arms rising to wrap around his neck; to choke him and love him again in their afterlife.
That is precisely what she did; and Chai Son screamed all the while.
Patrick Winters is a graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL, where he earned a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. He has been published in the likes of Sanitarium Magazine, The Sirens Call, Trysts of Fate, and other such titles.
She cracked shell against counter and split the egg, but instead of golden yolk, out slipped an eyeball, slick and pink. Its auburn-rimmed pupil glared from the mixing bowl.
She gaped at the other eleven eggs nestled in the Organic Acres carton. With trembling fingers, she cracked another. A matching brown eye plopped out, crusted with eggshell.
She scrubbed her hands with dish soap, splashed icy tap water over her face, and gasped for precious air.
Soapy water inched up the sink. Something swelled at the bottom.
A huge bloodshot eye clogged the drain.
Kevin M. Folliard
Kevin M. Folliard is a Chicagoland writer whose published fiction includes scary stories collections Christmas Terror Tales and Valentine Terror Tales, and adventure novels such as Matt Palmer and the Komodo Uprising. His work has also been collected by Double Feature Magazine, Flame Tree Publishing, Parsec Ink, and more.
Fire’s magic transforms all it touches. Its gold infuses elegance into humble surroundings, and its heat warms human souls. It dances across logs, graceful as a sprite. Its tongues send messages to heaven, wrapped in clouds of billowing gray smoke.
Churchgoers become demonic in its transforming flickers.
I squeeze eyes shut and whimper. Hatred lit the blue-bright flames that creep up my skirts. Hair sizzles. Skin bubbles. Pain screeches as fragrant flesh pops from bone until all that remains is unrecognizable char.
My spirit clings to the assassination spot to admire the flame’s artistry. I’m altered, transformed by fire’s touch.
Kerry E.B. Black
Kerry E.B. Black grew up discovering mysteries in the woods around her parents’ suburban Pittsburgh home. Now she leads her children along fog-enshrouded riverbanks and into dark mountain paths. Please follow the author at https://www.amazon.com/Kerry-E.B.-Black/e/B00IKURGVS
Night after night, while Chloe did her homework, Daddy argued with cooking competition shows on TV.
“Four pots on the stove, studio lights blazing overhead, and he’s not even breaking a sweat! Fake!”
“The judges hate truffle oil! You’re ruining your dish, you idiot!”
Tonight, though, Chloe was blessed with silence as she hurried through her homework. Upon finishing, she flipped on the TV just in time to see the chef drizzle truffle oil over a dish of seared tongue. She shook her head. Daddy would have warned the chef, if only it hadn’t been his tongue on the plate.
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Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs a few websites including Horror Tree!