Tag Archives: fragmentsoffear

Puzzled: A short story audiobook

I know that pride cometh before a fall, but I’m quite proud of this. ‘Puzzled’ is my first short story that I’ve had made into an audiobook/youtube video.

With the help of the amazing narration of Dalan Decker, and the helpful expertise of Mason Carlton, I was able to see a dream to fruition. Having one of my stories turned into an audiobook.

I know it may seem like a small step, but it’s a step in the right direction, and I plan to make as many more steps as I can.

Enjoy.

‘Puzzled’

Last chance

My newest shory story is free on Amazon for one more day.

I have to say I was rather shocked at having offered my story for free and only having 6 people take me up on my offer.

I feel like one of those poor unfortunate souls who is hired by a restaurant to stand on a busy street corner, dressed like a giant hot dog, and hand out flyers that no one takes or reads.

So once again, I’ll put on the suit, stand on this particular street corner and offer people my story.

I thought up my Mr. Smiley series a few years ago as a way to introduce my short stories. He has developed quite a bit and taken on some unique and interesting challenges.

If you like the Twilight Zone or Tales from the Crypt, you’ll like Mr. Smiley. Give it a try. I’ll be standing here, waiting.

The Journey: Chapter 2

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear: Collection’.

Warning: graphic violence

 

“She”

She staggered awkwardly down the empty street, not really knowing where she was going.
With one arm, she clutched the wound in her side, the other arm was outstretched in front of her, as though searching for something. Never looking back, always moving slowly forward. On and on she trudged, tireless, relentlessly looking for something but not knowing what. She only knew it was out there. It had been there before, but when? Where?

The empty streets were slowly disappearing through darkness and late evening mist. Nothing moved except for her, even the air seemed still. Deserted cars, half-destroyed buildings, and rubble were her only companions, and still she kept on going.

‘Reason’ and ‘blame’ were the furthest things from her mind. The beginning didn’t matter, ‘now’ was all that mattered. The few street lights that still worked flickered to life. They gave her a dim, somewhat eerie view of her surroundings, but there was nothing she wanted to see. ‘It’ wasn’t there. So on she went with her endless search.

All around was evidence of chaos and destruction, yet she wasn’t afraid.
How many days, or weeks, had she been silently walking, yet she didn’t feel tired? All that mattered was the search. Whatever it was, she knew, somehow, that she had to have it.

Had something caught her eye, or had her fevered brain begun to hallucinate? She scanned the ruined landscape. There it was again, movement. Her pace quickened. The silhouette of a moving human form stirred a feeling she hadn’t felt in a long time. But what was this feeling?

Joy, at finding another living person?

Fear of what they might do to her?

No, those weren’t it. The feeling grew stronger with every step she took. Finally she recognized it…

Hunger.

She steadily approached, mere steps away, when the man turned toward her with a look of shock etched into his face. She realized that her search was over. Not remembering the last time she had spoken, the sound coming from her throat was more like a feral growl. Struggling, as though the line from her mind to her mouth had been damaged, the word she had waited so long to say attempted to escape her lips.

She looked him in the eyes and said, with a raspy voice,

“Brains!”

She lunged at him before his shock wore off. He reached for the gun on his side, but her inhuman strength was too much. She ripped his arm off and cast it aside like a candy wrapper, then pulled his skull apart, and started eating while he was still screaming.

The body laid lifeless on the ground, she rose from gorging herself, and started walking. Never once did she look back at the shell of a man she had just torn to shreds.

She staggered awkwardly down the street, not really knowing where she was going.

***
After the man had finished his story, the conductor softly cleared his throat. The storyteller whipped his head around quickly. For just an instant, he thought he saw a skeletal hand outstretched towards him, with bones as white as ivory. Blinking hard to clear his head, he looked again and saw merely the milky white hand of the conductor, beckoning for their tickets.

“Pardon me, sir,” the conductor said, “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“I wasn’t startled,” the man said, “I just thought I saw…”

“Yes?…” the conductor said, expectantly.

“Nothing,” the man said, mentally shaking himself.

The conductor punched the tickets of the four passengers and began to move on, then paused.

“I hope you don’t think it’s too forward of me, but I collect stories, and I was intrigued by yours.”

“Umm … thanks.”

“Would you mind if I wrote it down in one of my journals?”

“Well, the thing is, it’s not actually my story. I just told it.”

“And why did you choose to tell that particular story?”

“I don’t know,” he said thoughtfully. “it just seemed appropriate somehow.”

“They say the eyes are the windows to the soul but I have found that to be false. I believe that the stories one tells hold much more insight into their true feelings,” the conductor said, with a knowing smile. “So, may I collect it?”

“I‘ll make you a deal. I‘ll tell you a riddle, if you guess it you can collect my story, if you don‘t, I get to ride for free.”

The conductor rubbed his pale chin thoughtfully.

“It’s a deal.”

“Okay,” the man said, rubbing his hands together. “A cowboy rides into town on Friday, stays three days and leaves on Friday, how did he do it?”

The conductor smiled. “My dear sir, you take me for a fool. I thought that you were going to offer me a challenge.”

“All right, smart guy, what’s the answer?”

“The horse’s name is Friday.”

The man’s face fell. “You’re the only person who ever got that riddle.”

The conductor merely smiled.

“Just one question, what is your profession?”

“Biochemical engineer, why?” he said.

“No reason,” the conductor said moving on to the other passengers. “I was just thinking about your story.”

“Hey, hold on there fella,” said the man seated across from the storyteller. “Ain’t you gonna write his story down?”

“Yes, when I’ve finished my duties.”

“Won’t you forget it by then?”

“No,” the conductor smiled. “I have an eidetic memory. It helps in my line of work.”

“A what? An electric memory?”

“Eidetic, you would know it as a photographic memory.”

“Well what good is an electric memory on a train?”

“You’d be amazed,” the conductor said.

“Well then, if you think his story was good, you’ll love this one.”

The conductor turned and faced the man with rapt attention.

“It goes like this … ” he began.

***
 

The Journey: Chapter 1

Field of Screams

Excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear, Collection‘.

 

I love living in the country, away from all the lights. Over a dozen meteor pictures and I should still have time for more.

I trudge through waist high grass, climb into my car, and listen to the radio as the camera automatically takes another picture. Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ plays softly, causing me to smile and close my eyes.

When I wake the full moon is up, bathing the field in an eerie glow.

The grass undulates as if waving in the breeze.

That’s odd, the wind isn’t moving the trees.

The wave of grass continues steadily towards me, enveloping the car. I stick my head out through the window and watch one of the waves pass right by me. It stops moving and out of the grass I see glowing red eyes.

I throw myself back inside the car and roll up the window, ignoring the sound of something scraping on the door.

OhmyGodohmyGodohmyGod!

I focus on my breathing to avoid a panic attack.

In my mirror I see the mounds of grass moving away.

I roll my window back down, lean out, look down and see no red eyes.

I think it’s time to go home.

My camera sits a mere four feet away.  I won’t step out of my car, or leave it in the field.

I pull over closer to the camera, reach out through the window, grab the ‘Oh shit’ handle inside the car, all the while shooting furtive glances down at the grass.

Got it!

I sling myself back inside the car, roll up my window, and try to calm down. The longer I sit here the more silly the whole thing seems.

It had to be a dream. I fell asleep and dreamt the whole thing.

I chuckle at my own stupidity, then turn the car around and drive back over the same tracks I used to get here.

I drive out of the field, through my own backyard, and park beside the house.

I head for the backdoor, exhausted.

Two a.m. is late, even for me.

Against my better judgment, I lean down to look at the side of the car door and was surprised to see scrapes in the metal.

Must’ve been a stick or something I brushed against in the field.

I head inside, lock the door, and start looking through the night’s pictures.

Several of the meteor pictures are nicely framed with the field and trees. As the moon comes up, the stars disappear.

This must be where I fell asleep.

As I scroll through, I notice the waves in the field.

So I didn’t dream that?

I enlarge the picture.

My breath catches in my throat.

Red eyes.

I push to the right and see another set of eyes. I zoom back out and count dozens of them. Every hump of grass has glowing red eyes looking out.

Oh my God!

My spine turns to ice when I hear scraping at the back door.

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this story, try one of my others.

Eyes, Avian, The Exam, Open, Haunted, Crash, Stained, Puzzled

Open

An excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear Collection’

 
My tormentor sits beside me, mocking me.

“Come on, Ben, you know you want me, why don’t you just do it?”

I try to ignore it, work on my tan. The sun helps out by shining down as bright as possible, baking me to a crisp.

“Beeeeennnnn,” it sing-songs to me. “Why don’t you peel off this outer cover and do what we both know you want to do?”

Water splashes in my face, pulling me out of my delusion.

My mind drifts back to this horrible reality.

Alone in a life raft, adrift in open water, my companion who speaks so seductively is an unopened can of baked beans.

For three days I’ve stared at that can. During my less lucid moments, it mocks me and beguiles me.

Whoever loaded the supplies on this life raft was either stupid or one sadistic bastard.

They packed saltines, peanuts, canned food, but no can opener, and no water. The crackers and nuts were gone on day one. Now my throat feels like it’s swelling shut.

My stomach has stopped rumbling and sends jolts of pain now. I fear that it is slowly devouring other internal organs. But that’s nothing compared to my pounding headache.

I feel like I’m going to burst into flames any second. I don’t know if I could drink even if I had water.

The irony of dying of thirst in the middle of the ocean throws me into a fit of hysterical laughter…on the inside. On the outside, I only have enough energy for a weak smile.

Early morning day four, that’s when my miracle happened. The most commonplace of all miracles, water fell from the sky.

The first drop hits me on the cheek, and my eyes struggle to open.

I’m having another horrid, sadistic dream.

It wasn’t until I was soaking wet that I made a feeble attempt to open my mouth as wide as I could and allow drop after life-saving drop to slowly fill it.

I attempt my first swallow in nearly two days.

Try as I might, I can’t do it. My throat has swollen nearly shut. Breathing has become difficult.

Now my mouth is full of water that has begun to drip into my lungs.

Four days ago I would’ve just spit the water out. But then, four days ago I was able to swallow. Now I’m so weak I can’t turn my head and I can barely cough. Even when I do, a mere drop or two of water comes out.

After two feeble attempts, I can’t breathe.

Whatever energy reserves I have, go into one last cough.

It barely makes the water in my mouth gurgle. Panic fights exhaustion, and loses.

The rain comes down in torrents. What I thought was my savior has become my doom.

Lying on my back, I look like a fish out of water. My mouth moving, unable to breathe, slowly suffocat…

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this story, try another.

Avian

An excerpt from my book, ‘Fragments of Fear Collection‘.

 

“Time of death 8:46 AM.”

“Everyone in this room is under quarantine,” Dr. Fyne says. “If this is what I think it is, we’re all dead.”

***

8:44 AM

“Clear!” the machine sends electricity pulsing through my body.

“No pulse.”

“Shock him again!”

“Nothing. Flat line.”

The doctor pulls down his mask slowly.

“Then we’ll never know for sure.”

“Won’t an autopsy show it?”

“Let’s find out. I’m calling it…”

***

8:40 AM

Blood sprays from my mouth as I cough uncontrollably.

“Vitals dropping,” the nurse yells, “we’re losing him.”

“Charge the defibrillator. Did you draw the blood sample I wanted?”

“Not enough time.”

“I need that sample!”

“Defibrillator charged.”

***

8:36 AM

“So, I hear you have the flu,” the doctor says.

I start to cough.

“Sorry about that,” I tell the doctor.

“That’s okay, when did you notice…?”

Coughs wrack me to the floor.

“Nurse!”

“Yes, doctor?”

“Get me vitals and a blood sample on this guy.”

“He’s seizing!”

“Crash cart to room five, stat!”

***

8:34 AM

Finally. I think I have writer’s cramp.

“The doctor will see you now, follow me to room five.”

I still feel a little silly. It was just some freak occurrence.

“Good morning,” the doctor says, “How are we feeling today?”

“Fine, I guess.”

***

8:01 AM

“Fill out these forms and have a seat,” the receptionist says without looking up.

***

7:50 AM

I drive down the road still in shock.

Did that really just happen?

Dents in the hood of my car and feathers clinging to my clothes confirm it.

I look at the bloody scrapes on my arm.

Maybe I should go to the hospital.

***

7:45 AM

I breathe in the crisp morning air. There’s an odd tinge to the smell.

Halfway to the car, I hear a ‘thunk’.

A small bird lays motionless on the ground in front of me.

Another ‘thunk’ and another.

What the hell?

I look up to see a hailstorm of birds falling toward me.

Eyeing the distance the car is closer than the house, so I sprint for the car.

The rain of death intensifies. Bodies hit me left and right.

The ground is now covered with avian corpses. Their bones crunch under my feet as I struggle to open the car door, and dive inside.

As I drive down the road, the strange phenomenon stops.

***

7:00 AM

The alarm clock crushes my dream of lounging on a beach.

Shower

Dress

Coffee

Toast

I watch the news during my morning routine.

“… the CDC reports that a new strain of bird flu may have made it to our shores. Officials aren’t yet sure if it’s contagious to humans, but to be on the safe side, they recommend caution. If you see a dead bird, don’t go near it. Call the number on your screen immediately.”
I turn off the TV and walk out the door.

Who would be dumb enough to mess with a dead bird?
***