Writing Group: A Reason to Scream

Hello, Thrill Seekers and Pranksters!

What, me? I-I’m not scared! Nothing scares me! Not roller coasters, not scary movies, nothing! What about you? Are you sc-scared? Yeah, m-me neither! I just hope nothing jumps out at us, because…

This week’s Writing Group prompt is:

A Reason to Scream

RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!

What a perfect prompt to close out this spooky season. And a very fitting prompt, might I add. What defines spooky season more than monsters and tricks? Why, the screams caused by these things of course!

Let’s explore some causes for screaming, shall we? There’s the classic, of course; a group of friends exploring a haunted house. Is it the sort put on by a scout group for fundraising, or is it the kind that everyone talks about but never dares to go near? The scares found within either are very different, after all. Is it all just people in costumes and animated wall decor, or is there someone, or maybe even something, that wasn’t part of the plan? Maybe you decide to visit the local Halloween festival with your lovely date. You have some cheap scares from the dressed up staff, play some games and have some fun. Then happen across a competition where the scariest competitor wins anything from a free game to a dinner coupon… or even a special after-hours tour of the park.  

Perhaps the reason you have is less theatric. After all, who wouldn’t scream when coming face to face with actual undead in their backyard? Or perhaps the monster under the bed decided it was finally time to up their game a little. Maybe you’re just tidying up after closing the restaurant, only to see one customer is still seated at their table… and they look oddly transparent. Or maybe your screams are simply caused by the screams of another who had the daylights scared out of them, like your arachnophobic classmate finding a spider on their pencil case, or someone’s partner sneaking up on them with a creepy mask. 

There’s plenty of reasons for screaming. Some are good and just in fun, others, not so much. It all depends on the circumstances leading up to it. 

So don your masks, practice your monstrous noises, and get the spooky lighting ready.

Let the scaring begin!

—Shawna

Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.

Tune into the stream this Saturday at 3:00pm CST to see if you made the cut!

The whole purpose of this is to show off the creativity of the community, while also helping each other to become better writers. Lean into that spirit! Get ready not just to share what you’ve got, but to give back to the other writers here as well.

Rules and Guidelines

We read at least four stories during each stream, two of which come from the public post, and two of which come from the much smaller private post. Submissions are randomly selected by a bot, but likes on your post will improve your chances of selection, so be sure to share your submission on social media!

  1. Text and Formatting

    1. English only.
    2. Prose only, no poetry or lyrics.
    3. Use proper spelling, grammar, and syntax.
    4. Your piece must be between 250-350 words (you can use this website to see your wordcount).
    5. Use two paragraph breaks between each paragraph so that they have a proper space between them (press “enter” or “return” twice).
    6. Include a submission title and an author name (doesn’t have to be your real name). Do not include any additional symbols or flourishes in this part of your submission. Format them exactly as you see in this example, or your submission may not be eligible: Example Submission.
    7. No additional text styling (such as italics or bold text). Do not use asterisks, hyphens, or any other symbol to indicate whether text should be bold, italic, or styled in any other way. CAPS are okay, though.
  2. What to Submit

    1. Keep submissions “safe-for-work”; be sparing with sexuality, violence, and profanity.
    2. Try to focus on making your submission a single meaningful moment rather than an entire story.
    3. Write something brand new; no re-submitting past entries or pieces written for other purposes
    4. No fan fiction whatsoever. Take inspiration from whatever you’d like, but be transformative and creative with it. By submitting, you also agree that your piece does not infringe on any existing copyrights or trademarks, and you have full license to use it.
    5. Submissions must be self-contained (everything essential to understanding the piece is contained within the context of the piece itself—no mandatory reading outside the piece required. e.g., if you want to write two different pieces in the same setting or larger narrative, you cannot rely on information from one piece to fill in for the other—they must both give that context independently).
  3. Submission Rules

    1. One submission per participant.
    2. Submit your entry in a comment on this post.
    3. Submissions close at 12:00pm CST each Friday.
    4. You must like and leave a review on two other submissions to be eligible. Your reviews must be at least 50 words long, and must be left directly on the submission you are reviewing, not on another comment. If you’re submitting to the private post, feel free to leave these reviews on either the private or the public post. The two submissions you like need not be the same as the submissions you review.
    5. Be constructive and uplifting. These submissions are not for a professional market, and shouldn’t be treated as such. We do this, first and foremost, for the joy of the craft. Help other writers to feel like their work is valuable, and be considerate and gentle with critique when you offer it. Authors who leave particularly abrasive or disheartening remarks on this post will be disqualified from selection for readings.
    6. Use the same e-mail for your posts, reviews, and likes, or you may be rendered ineligible (you may change your username or author name between posts without problem, however).
    7. You may submit to either or both the public/private groups if you have access, but if you decide to submit to both, only the private group submission will be eligible.
    8. Understand that by submitting here, you are giving us permission to read your submission aloud live on stream and upload public, archived recordings of said stream to our social media platforms. You will always be credited, but only by the author name you supply as per these rules. No other links or attributions are guaranteed.

Comments on this post that aren’t submissions will be deleted, except for replies/reviews left on existing submissions.

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Lunabear
Lunabear
27 days ago

The Sweetest Haul
by Lunabear (Private Repost)

Chadwick, Horace, and Delaney prowl the streets with full packs and pumpkin buckets. They regale the blustery night with songs of graveyard denizens and laughing skeletons.

“Man, we made out like bandits!” Chadwick grins from ear to ear, his lion’s mane ruffling.

“I can feel the dentist chair already.” Horace rubs an imaginary toothache through his mummy bandages.

Delaney blows a bubble then giggles after it pops. “Yeah, but it’s worth it. Mrs. Albertson gives out the best gum.”

“Hey! No eating any until we get back to my house and check it!” Chadwick’s face wrinkles. “AND we need to count it!”

Delaney pulls the skin beneath her eye down while sticking out her tongue. “Nobody made you boss, Chad! I will turn you into a frog!” She waves her star wand at him and dust sprinkles to the ground.

“That doesn’t even work! Magic isn’t real, Del!”

Delaney marches up to Chadwick and swats at him. His bucket sways. “It IS real; YOU just don’t believe because you’re constipated!”

“What does that even mean?!”

“You’re grouchy,” Horace chimes in quietly. He swings his heavy load to the ground.

“Yeah! My mommy said–”

“Ow!”

Horace is knocked over by a large man. He’s wearing a dark mask.

“Argh! Damn it, kid! Move!”

The man reaches for something in the dark.

Two more masked men breeze by the confused trio.

“Great plan, Uros! ‘It’ll be easy! Like stealing candy fro–'”

“Shut it, Arbor! Get up, Rhines!”

Rhines lurches to his feet, gripping a black pack. He clutches at his stomach and looks at each child in turn. “You say ANYTHING, we’ll find you.”

The children nod emphatically, unable to make a sound.

The night swallows the three men. Distant sirens wail then fade.

Chadwick and Delaney help Horace to his feet. With shaking hands, he gets his pack back on. Tears wet his face.

“W-were they–”

“No, Del! Those were costumes!”

“H–he, he s–said–”

“They were pretending, Horace! You know; a prank! Let’s just get home, ok?”

Chadwick looks over his shoulder as they hurry to safety.

TheAssassin
TheAssassin
1 month ago

To Drown
By TheAssassin

At the edge of a jagged cliff stood a young lord, lost in thoughts of war. The sun blazed violently, and the clouds churned overhead. Gusts of wind tore through the air and coiled at the lord’s rippling cape.

In his mind, the lord could see only destruction. The war pressed forward. It was like a wave and grew ever larger, eclipsing the horizon. A tsunami scraping the clouds, an imposing shadow suffocating all things – it prepared to crash. With it, the world would fall.

The lord let slip a tear.

An old hand fell upon his shoulder. The frail fingers squeezed gently; the lord’s grandfather never left him alone. For that, he felt both an overwhelming joy and a crushing grief.

“For whom do you cry, m’lord?” asked the grandfather, though the wind nearly deafened his words.

“For myself,” answered the lord, feeling the weight of his failure like a chain dragging him down in the raging sea.

“A selfish thing then, to cry?”

“I am a selfish man.”

“Or you are a noble one,” asserted the grandfather, his voice calm and sure.

“And crying for myself is noble?”

“It strengthens you, gives those for whom you care a window into which they can embrace your soul.”

“And this would be noble? Nobility is strength and weeping gives no strength, as you’ve claimed,” retorted the lord.

“To mend a broken thing strengthens it, yes? So do our tears mend us. They pour into the cracks left by woe, allowing us to confront our weakness and grow accordingly.”

The lord sighed, anger brewing within. “I cannot be mended, grandfather. Can you not see it? I drown in a pool of innocent blood!”

The grandfather shifted his eyes to the sun’s fury and said, “Aye, lad. I see it.”

A moment of tense silence passed. The grandfather’s hard eyes looked at the sun’s burning flames. The lord felt he was losing something important, though he could not describe what.

The grandfather turned and grabbed the lord’s shoulders.

Their eyes locked.

“But you can swim.”

Last edited 1 month ago by TheAssassin
King_Nix
King_Nix
1 month ago

“The Eve of All Saints”
By King_Nix

[An entry from the field journal of Francis Plantagenet, Captain General of the Inquisitorial Dæmon Hunters.]

October 31st

All has been made ready.
The horses have been prepared.
Father Rodrikson has provided us with ample holy water and blessed ashes.
The munitions are blessed.
Our arsenal has been inspected thrice over daily, and surpasses standards.
The Greek Fire has arrived from the chemists in Rome.

For thirteen days we’ve toiled. We fooled the enemy into thinking our position vulnerable, yet strong enough to necessitate greater numbers to overwhelm. Estimates from the first night placed the enemy at eight; last night’s watch reported no less than fifty.

Their howling screams have mocked us from afar with increasing fervor every night, drowned out by the chanting of our choir. They took the bait, and tonight we spring the trap. No more will the fiends of the wilderness find comfort in the night.
In the witching hour of All Saints’ Day, we give these monsters a reason to scream.

November 1st, the Feast of All Saints

We let them approach our perimeter. The usual shrieking commenced, taunting us to leave our hallowed circle. The one wearing the skin of Private Thomas led the coven in their mocking screams. It had grown into its new attire since I last saw it – no longer did it sport the slavering jaws of a hound, yet it was no closer to appearing human. Its glare always met my own gaze.

Together, we cast our fire into the brush, and the night burst into day. The choir broke into the chant of Saint Michaël the Archangel, keeping time with our rifle volleys. Bullets coated in blessèd ash erupted from guns sprinkled with holy water and tore into the shape-shifting witches. The enemy broke, screaming in terrified agony, but none would survive. We mounted up and I led a charge. We cut them down to the last, by pistol and sword, by shotgun and bayonet.

As the Sun broke over the desolation of our foes, we doused the smoldering earth, and celebrated Mass.

[End of entry.]

Tyler Chancey
Tyler Chancey
1 month ago

Ignorance is Bliss
By. CosmicDesperado30

It was after the third night of pure ecstasy that I could tell something was wrong. That primal survival instinct honed over millennia of evolution tucked away in the back of my mind. I kept ignoring it.

This was first contact, after all. It wouldn’t do well for diplomacy if we ran off like neanderthals in the face of new intelligent alien life. And after so many clinical sessions of honest mistakes and mutual respect, this was a step forward. Like Captain Kirk before us, to boldly go.

My fourth morning with the visitor started off about the same as before. Waking up to a beautiful sunrise set over my childhood home with a passionate kiss on my lips. Their features continued to shift under my scrutiny, but somehow always managed to be attractive. After some playful protestations I’d leave the bedroom for coffee, eggs and bacon. All of it was perfect, Norman Rockwell would freak.

I mused at how well done the illusion was. Holistically, it was perfect, but not at the same time; the uncanny valley on steroids. I knew it wasn’t real, but I also knew they were doing it for me. It was downright romantic, this kind of psychic melding of memory.

It was only after I threw away the newspaper I couldn’t read for the fourth time that things didn’t add up. I knew I hadn’t shaved in weeks, and yet it felt clean. My heartbeat sounded wrong in my chest. Even my strength seemed hollow, distant.

In a hurry, I went to the washroom. Where I once saw a gruff face plagued by bad life choices and bullheadedness, I saw a pristine face, untouched by adversity. But it wasn’t my face. My hair had changed to platinum blond, my eyes were now a glassy cyan.

The same kind of face that had greeted mine for the past three days.

I felt them press into me from behind. My lizard brain’s screams echoed into the ether.

“Come back to bed, honey…” they crooned.

Adrian Solorio
Adrian Solorio
1 month ago

Atonement
By Adrian Solorio

Large bulbous clouds swept down from the snow capped mountains and blocked the moonlight from the forested valley. As the light went, Kaan stumbled blindly over thick roots, and he had to grip a low-branch to keep from falling. He leaned on the tree, giving himself time to adjust to the darkness, for he would need all his senses to find the children taken by the beast.

The villagers—parents—had found him in the tavern. A lone soldier homeward bound. They saw his sword, saw his scars, saw his empty eyes, and they saw how he drowned the emptiness with tankard after tankard of ale, and they knew they had their man—a man with nothing to lose—or in their words, their hero.

“The beast comes in the night and breaks the windows and takes our daughters.” The villagers talked over one another. “It’s the witch’s curse!—The beast was once a man!—Tis a man-wolf!”

Kaan, eyes adjusted, left the tree with a sneer. What fools believed in heroes these days? If they had seen the things he’d done during the war, they wouldn’t think him a hero. But then, maybe this was his chance for penance. Maybe, this would end the nightmares.

Starlight seeped through the cloud cover now, fell through the foliage, and lit up the forest floor. From above, among the branches, owls called; from below, amid the dead leaves, mice scurried; from ahead, within the glow of a campfire, children sobbed.

Kaan unsheathed his sword and entered the clearing. Girls with matted hair, tattered clothes, hands and feet chained, sat in wicker cages above and around the fire. One of them looked up, with large pleading eyes. “Please,” she cried. “Help—”

A kick to the post shook the cage. “This one just won’t shut up,” said Yara, the wild witch of the forest. She glared at Kaan, saw the sword, smiled, and petted an enormous black wolf beside her. “Looks like we have dinner.” She raised her hand, the wolf leapt, Kaan’s sword flashed, and the night was pierced by a furious unending shriek of rageful torment.

Last edited 23 days ago by Adrian Solorio
Makokam
1 month ago

By A Thread (Chronicles Of The Dragon)
By: Makokam

Imogene struggled to haul her companion though the forest, cursing (for what was surely the millionth time in her thousands of years of life) her small frame, and her father for doing this to her. She also cursed herself for her hubris and shortsightedness in not studying a broader range of magic.

“Stay with me Vlad!” she cried as she stopped to cast a spell and pulled the life from the plants around them and pushed it into him. It did little to solve the problem, but at least it was keeping him alive.

She did her best to carry him gently over her shoulder as she struggled to get back to his castle where she could actually do something to save him.

Maybe.

It wasn’t even his weight, it was his size. Over a foot taller and twice her width, carrying him was an awkward task and dragging him would add insult to injury. As well as more injuries.

If only she had a cart! Or SOMETHING to use as a stretcher.

She couldn’t even leave him behind to fetch what she needed and bring it to him. As fast as she was, he’d still die before she got back.

She heard movement behind the trees and sapped the life from the creature to sustain him. Whatever spell or enchantment had done this to him still resisted all her efforts to heal him.

She could drain the life from every living thing for miles and it wouldn’t solve the problem!

The only thing she could do to save him was something unforgivable.

And that was something she was willing to do if it stopped her from losing him. She’d studied the spells, the ritual. Every aspect of it was carved deeply into her mind. She’d worked and studied to fix it. But the only way it could work is if he didn’t DIE before she could do it!

She stopped again to siphon up whatever life she could and pour it into him.

“Come on my love. We can have eternity together. You just can’t die yet.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Makokam
Papileser
Papileser
1 month ago

Just the Wind
By Papileser Eilitharl

The dense shadows of the woods seemed impenetrable to Cedric, the orange glow from his torch barely piercing the darkness. The winter winds whistled through the bare branches of the trees like a choir of lost souls, the icy cold piercing his iron-plated armor. The gathering snowstorm had burst overhead just in time for Cedric to take watch.

When Boris had jostled Cedric awake earlier, he grumbled, “You’re up Ced. Might wanna bring a cloak.” Cedric cursed himself for not taking the advice. His bones felt like they were covered in a thin layer of frost, though the torch gave some warmth. He rounded the southern corner of the camp and was blasted by the frozen droplets in the wind.

As Cedric lifted his hand to cover his face, a strange sound echoed across the forest. A woman’s scream came from the woods. “Was that just the wind… No there it was again!” Cedric bolted toward the distressed sound.

He ran for what he thought was five minutes when the sound suddenly stopped. As he was whirling about, he realized his tracks had been buried by the snow. The wind suddenly roared with a mighty gale, knocking the torch from Cedric’s hand, smothered by the snow. The shadows of the forest rushed forth, leaving him blind, cold, and hopelessly lost.

Cedric stumbled about searching for a path or landmark. He searched frantically in every direction for nearly an hour, until he could move no longer. Limbs frozen stiff he collapsed against a dying tree. In his fading vision he could see something moving closer.

A horrific figure of snow and ice crept toward him, it’s icy gaze pierced him more than any cold. The monster let out that ear-splitting shriek of the woman he heard. Cedric realized his helplessness as the monster leapt toward him, all he could do was scream.

Back at the camp, Boris heard a sound like a scream from the woods. He strained his ears listening for another. Hearing nothing else, he thought to himself, “Just the wind.”

ate_house
ate_house
1 month ago

The Martyrdom of Saint Rosalind
by ate_house

Rosa’s covered in scrapes and cuts, some from the undergrowth, some from Magic, but she can’t stop running now, not with demons at her heels. She turns, whispers a Word quieter than a moth’s wingbeat, and the treeline bursts into flame behind her as Magic cuts a new wound into her cheek in return.

How could the demons be this far north? Every report they’d received for months said that the attacks had halted. Was it possible they had only been gathering strength? If so, they were taking land quicker than any messenger could ride. What monsters could be capable of that?

A horrid, skittering thing with ten legs, black as coal and bigger than any wolf, leaps at Rosa from her right. She whispers another Word, but in her panic she says one of the syllables too loudly and takes too much. Instead of cutting a hole into it, she obliterates the demon in its entirety. The vision in her right eye goes red as Magic pays her back for the theft.

Rosa realises that she doesn’t know where she’s been running. Her village could be anywhere. She tries to reorient herself, but the treetops are thick with leaves and the sun is hidden.

She runs, heedless of direction, but the demons are gaining on her quickly and her adrenaline is fading. She uses another Word, but she’s speaking almost audibly now. Ten demons break apart and her left leg collapses beneath her, twisted backwards with a crunch.

The village is visible from this cliff, she realises dully. Even her one working eye, blurred with tears, can see the tide of scuttling black encroaching. There’s nothing she can do that will save her family and friends. Nothing but this.

She forms the Word in her mouth and screams it, and every demon in a thousand miles curls up dead. And Magic, that ancient and terrible creature, hears her.

The traditional offerings to the clifftop temple of Saint Rosalind are silver pins or coins, white roses, and soothing salves. The priestesses apply these salves to the statue when it bleeds.

Alex
Alex
1 month ago

Predecessors (Darkspell Universe)
By Alex Nightingale (aka Spectre)

Max turned on the light of the stairs leading down into the basement underneath the charred ruins of the old manor, which once belonged to Azamod Aerenhardt. It was the anniversary of the legendary engineer’s death and Lilith Aerenhardt was here to pay her respects. She’d asked Max for company and he’d agreed, if only for a chance to see the manor.

“What did you keep down here, mate,” he muttered to himself, as he looked into the basement, totally untouched by the flames. “Is this where you kept the secrets to creating your golems?”

Max descended the stairs, slowly and carefully. The smell of clay became extremely pungent. A soft moaning echoed from the room. He stopped at the bottom of the stairs.

“Did you mess with ghosts as well?” Max tried to see something in the barely functioning ceiling lights.

The ground was uneven and he had to take great care not to trip. It felt soft, not like cobblestones or floorboards, like he expected. Maybe Azamod just hadn’t bothered making a proper floor.

“I need more light,” Max cupped his hands, muttered a spell and released a ball of light into the air.

He immediately wished he hadn’t lit the room.

The walls, ceiling and floor were covered with faces. Half-dead faces, some mouths hanging open. Faces made of clay and with glowing eyes. Faces in agony.

Faces, whose bodies had been fused together in some perverse unity, stuck together, crushing and cutting each other forever.

Max recognized them as golems.

“Aerenhardt?” he asked, hoping he wouldn’t get a response.

One of the faces nodded, slowly. Max approached it, placing a hand on its cheek. So this is how Aerenhardt treated his so-called failures. Not just unloved, but thrown away like garbage and forgotten.

“I’m so sorry,” he said to the golems and stepped back.

If he still could have, he would have screamed at Azamod Aerenhardt, the greatest mind of their generation. How many of Lilith’s predecessors were sentient and had been thrown away, because they weren’t what he’d wanted? I couldn’t bring himself to ask.

Tamela Redfin
Tamela Redfin
1 month ago

All Seeing Augen

By Tamela Redfin

The secret must be kept inside. But, is there such a thing as a secret that truly remains secret? My mind was filled with the lovely Radon Cecilia. Someone was bound to find out.

I was walking when I saw Feldspar Augen. “Guden Mort Phosphorus Cameron. I’d like you to come with me.”

“Uh yes Feldspar Augen. But why me?” We walked through the sand and snow on the ground. I should have known something was up.

“My dear sweet Sulfur Cora is worried about you. She said she received a recording in the mail from about a year ago? It was talking with that wretched traitor.”

“You mean Radon Cecilia, right?” I curled my eyebrow.

“If that’s what you want to call her, sure. Your tone was positive and we aren’t sure why.”

“What’s the problem?”

“After March 14th, you started acting strange. Kindness. Especially being kind to the ‘Radon Cecilia’. The glowy look in your eyes. Talking with her cousin.” He pulled out a bonesaw from behind his back. “I know what you’re up to, Cameron!”

“Wait, were you…”

His pale red and blue eyes twitched “Aware? Yes dear boy. Don’t worry, I won’t use this. Not on you.”

“YOU CAN’T DO THAT!” I screamed.

“Who’s going to stop me? Not you for sure. Or maybe I’ll make you do it.” Feldspar Augen smirked. No! “It will be okay. Sometimes to remove the poison, you need to cut the wound.”

“What would Sulfur Cora think?” I gasped.

He gave a large twisted smile. “She’d love it, Cameron!”

ThatWeirdFish
ThatWeirdFish
1 month ago

The Mountian and the Wind (The Depths Files)
By ThatWeirdFish

Trip peeked through the peephole into Downcast’s office. He was out on an assignment. Perfect! It took a few tries with a paperclip, but the door opened. After slipping in and locking it again, he grinned.

“Alright, mate,” Trip rubbed his hands together. “Let’s see what ya got.”

Sure, Downcast didn’t have the most exciting life. But he couldn’t be that boring… could he? Trip tried every drawer he could reach and climbed up to the ones he couldn’t.

Files. Just rows and rows of case files. A few of the mortals looked cool, but that wasn’t what Trip was here for.

He perched on top of the cabinet and scanned the room. “Where else could ya be stashin’ stuff….” Trip mused as he stroked his goatee.

Plant? Too obvious, and it bites. Desk? Also, too obvious. If there was a rug, maybe. But the whole floor was a dull grey carpet.

His eyes lit up when he looked at the bookshelves. Of course! There were books he hadn’t tried yet! He leaped to the ladder of the far one and leaned, so it rolled to the end of its track.

“Alright, from the top,” Trip said as he started pulling the books out one by one, working his way down.

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. No string, no lever, not even one of those laser thingies. Trip groaned and checked his progress. He was on the third shelf of nine. And there were four more sections on this side alone. So… too many books to check each one.

“ARG! Ya know what, mate!” He yelled and jumped to the desk, knocking over a lamp and a pencil holder. “COLOR!” He flung his arms out, and the room’s color scheme switched from greyscale to garish technicolor. Then he crossed his arms, sat down, and sulked as he waited.

Five hours later, Downcast returned.

“I redecorated,” Trip huffed.

Neutral as ever, Downcast looked over the once pristine room with an apathetic glance. “Hmph.”

Connor A.
Connor A.
1 month ago

Unexpected Turn of Events (Helsing: Vampire)
By Connor A.

“And you’re sure you didn’t catch what the guy looked like?”

Quinn stared at the interrogation room’s table. Would the officer even believe them if they told the truth? That their new professor was a vampire and saved them from becoming a serial killer’s next victim?

“I…” Quinn began, completely giving up on trying to hide the quiver in their voice. “I just want to go home.”

“And you will,” the officer responded with a fake sincerity, “but I need you to tell me anything that can help this case.”

Before Quinn could insist that they did not know, a figure entered the room. The officer was the first to respond, “How did you get in here?”

Quinn turned next, and their teeth almost pierced their tongue as they held back a scream.

There he was. Professor Van Helsing. He was in fresh, non-bloodied clothes and appeared like the nice middle-aged man they met earlier that day. But the faint scent of metal reminded them of what they witnessed.

“I am terribly sorry officer,” he spoke with a Dutch accent, “but I heard what happened and came to make sure my assistant here was alright.”

The officer looked back at Quinn. “Assistant.”

“Ah, how rude of me.” He took off his hat to reveal reddish hair with a few gray streaks near his temple, “My name is Abraham Van Helsing. I am the new professor at the local university.” He took a card from his jacket and handed it to the officer. “Perhaps we can discuss this when my assistant has calmed down from this night’s events?”

Quinn watched as the light faded from the officer’s eyes. As she took the card, she looked over at Quinn and said with a monotone voice, “You’re free to go.”

Quinn stood up slowly. It took Helsing clasping a hand on their shoulder and guiding them to the door for them to start moving their feet.

“I know you have questions,” he whispered as the two walked out, “and I have answers.”

“Then tell me.”

“Tomorrow, in my office. Alright?”

“…Fine.”

C. M. Weller
1 month ago

Message in a Corner (Cordelia’s Journey)
C. M. Weller

She found the letter in the bottom of her chest. The last thing to unpack in her new life. That poor devil-kin, what was his name? He’d asked her to read it when she felt safe in her new life. She’d nearly forgotten it was there at all.

Reading it was overdue.

He hadn’t begun it with her name, he didn’t even use the word ‘dear’. Just, Lady, in ornate swoops. The rest of it was a far plainer hand, economising with the space on the page.

I can only hope that your life is proceeding well, and that you are happy, he had written. If all has gone well for you, you have found a place you belong. Everyone deserves that luck. My simple wish for you is that you find your peace and happiness.

But first, a confession. You promised to find me when you have your legs, but I know that you may not want to. To find me is to come willingly to the fate you have avoided. I was not just born in Whitekeep. I AM a Whitekeep.

My true name is Kormwind Arachis Felbourne Whitekeep, ninth of the name. Firstborn of the Earl. You would be better to stay away.

He signed it with a K, but Cordelia barely looked at it. The page crumpled in her white-knuckled hands.

She wanted to punch his handsome blue nose in. Black his glowing golden eyes. How DARE he? All those looks when she said she’d rather eat glass and chase it with acid than marry a Whitekeep… and he’d never said more than, “I was born in Whitekeep.”

As if that was all he could say in defense.

The rage at the man built up inside her heart. He could have said something, anything at all. Yet he chose to bow to her wishes and open statements instead of giving her the truth.

Not her brother-in-law. Her HUSBAND.

Damn the man, and damn her for loving him still.

She could not give voice to a scream. All that came out was a whispered, “You asshole.”

VeryBoringName
VeryBoringName
1 month ago

I’ll give you a reason!
By: VeryBoringName

He twirled the knife in his hand, as if it was a commodity, a stylish addition to their fancy, if blood soaked dress. He hummed to himself a whistling tune as sounds of gunshots ranged in some faraway tunnels, he wasn’t particularly bothered by them.

“Please, man, I just work here!”

Pleaded the man in what looked like riot armor, now with holes ripped, exposing pockets of skin. A condensation on the screen of his helmet indicated breathing. The man with the knife placed his finger under the screen, then gently, as if unveiling a lover’s gown, he lifted it up.

“I don’t really care.”

He said, as a twisted grin on his face formed, while his hand placed the knife on the man’s cheek, cut.

“Please! I have a family!”

“I’ll send some condolences, and some bits.”

The man with the knife straightened up, looking at the pitiful figure of the guard slouched against the concrete wall. His mind racing ax it pinpointed some fun spots to…

“What is your name anyway?”

“Reinforcements will be here soon, just let me go and I’ll- ah!”

The man winced in pain as an unseen force squeezed on his guts.

“More playthings, I really don’t care, you’ve jailed me, and others like me for too long. Now, what is your name?”

“Why do you ca- AH!”

Yet again the guard was cut off.

“I said: NAME!”

“Dave! My name is Dave Simons!”

The guard cried out. The man with the knife crouched down, and lifted the man’s head up.

“Dave, do tell me, do you have a reason to scream? I don’t mean, a whisper, or a squelch, or a whimper. I am talking an ear-bursting scream?”

“I do not.”

“Well Dave, I’ll give you a reason.”

The man with the knife patted the helmet of the guard as if he was petting a pet, careless of what he was about to do. He could hardly care about the fact that the riot will be put down eventually. At least once, he’ll have some fun.

Marx
Marx
1 month ago

Deal or No Deal
By Marx

“What do you want?” Matt grunted, narrowing his eyes as he sat on the bench. “I thought you already refused to help me.”

Lilith moved seductively closer as Matt took the offered seat. “That, my dearest Matthew… was Hell’s offer. This is mine.”

Matt raised a skeptical eyebrow. “What do you want?”

“Relax Matthew, it’s nothing you wouldn’t do anyway.”

Matt crossed his arms. “If it’s that easy then why are you willing to betray your boss for it?”

“Always so suspicious, Matthew! Honestly! The things you must think of me.” Lilith leaned against Matt, batting her eyelashes at him.

“Seriously… What do you want?”

“Your protection.”

This caught Matt’s attention. “My protection? From who? Lucifer?”

“Silly boy… I chose to work for Lucifer. He isn’t a threat to me.” She giggled. “YOU are.”

“Excuse me?”

“It’s very simple really. I’ll help you with your incubus issue and in return, you spare me in the apocalypse.”

Matt’s features immediately darkened. “For the last time. I’m not the horseman of Death! There will be no apocalypse.”

Lilith playfully booped his nose. “Then promising not to kill me in it should be easy.”

Matt rolled his eyes. “Fine.”

“Excellent! Just say the words, Matthew. Say your officially decree to spare me and I’m all yours.”

Lilith was grinning ear to ear at this point. This had been so easy! But her smile began to fade when Matt opened his mouth to speak but no sound came out.

“C… come on, Matthew. You just have to say it.”

Matt continued trying to speak and still nothing would come. Lilith could tell he wasn’t messing with her because he somehow looked even more surprised and frustrated than she did.

“…Matthew…?” She whimpered quietly.

“I… I can’t say it…” Matt grumbled in both shock and irritation.

“Matt… please, just… try again…” Lilith insisted, her panic not even hidden. “I can wait…”

And Matt tried again. Over and over. But the words refused to come. He looked over, attempting to give Lilith an apologetic look only to see that she was gone. She’d run away.

“Dammit…”