Category: Free Story


Free Scary Short Story

Halloween approaches, and while its not quite my genre of choice, it seemed appropriate to write something a bit chillier than normal. This short story is titled ‘Purr’ and depending on your taste for scary situations, you might want to avoid reading this in the dark of your bedroom, when you’re all alone.

Purrrr

Susan’s phone vibrated for the umpteenth time that night, its flowery wallpaper casting a hazy hue across her dimly lit bedroom. She stared down at the screen, sick dread settling in her stomach. Jason calling again and again. He didn’t know how to deal with the word ‘no.’

Outside, a tentative breeze pushed tree limbs against her window like so many dark fingers stroking the glass. Fluffy sat in her lap, purring contently, accompanying her while she waited for her kettle to boil downstairs. Susan glanced down at her cat and shuddered. Jason liked to purr too, when he was feeling content or flirtatious. It used to be cute, then protective, then possessive.

Then he got worse.

Downstairs, a shrill whistle startled her into a gasp of surprise. Fluffy glanced up at her, irritated at the interruption.

She forced herself to take a few calming breaths. Nothing settled her frazzled nerves like a cup of hot, peppermint tea. Pocketing her phone in her sweat pants, she set disgruntled Fluffy aside and headed downstairs.

Again her phone buzzed, she pulled it out, saw his name in the dim glow and shuddered, hitting ‘ignore’ once again. When would he get the message and leave her alone?

She reached the bottom of the stairs when a cool wind brushed her face. She paused, glancing around the living room and back up the stairs. Did dad leave a window open before leaving on their road trip? Or was the air conditioner acting up again?

The insistent tea pot hissed all the louder, so she shrugged away the mystery and hurried into the kitchen. The steamy air set her skin at ease, pushing the odd breeze she’d just felt into distant memory. She put the pouch of herbs into the steaming hot mug and swirled it with a spoon, staring lazily out the dark window with a content sigh. How nice to finally have a night off work.

Again her pocket vibrated. Taking courage from the light and warmth of the kitchen, she answered it. “That’s enough, Jason. I don’t want to talk to you.”

“You don’t need to say a word, Suzzie. Can I just see you? We’re so purrrfect together.” His words slurred drunkenly, but he rolled his r’s well. She’d thought it so cute when she taught him how to do that. “Don’t tell me you just bought a cat to replace me with.”

The alarm on the oven beeped at her, a reminder to retrieve her mother’s casserole from the oven. The repeated beeps hissed at her twice, once from the wall and once again, through her phone. She stared at Jason’s name on the screen. Her breaths turned to short gasps, her hands clammy. No, she’d locked the doors and windows long ago. She was safe here.

“Come on, babe.” Jason whispered. “It’s warm up here. Come on over and play.”

“Stay in your loft.” She hissed back, sounding braver than she felt. Her hands trembled so badly she feared he could somehow hear it through the phone. “Leave me alone or I’ll call the cops.”

“Don’t be like that.” Jason said, as if she’s slapped him. “I was just talking to that waitress last night. It wasn’t purrrsonal.”

“Shut up.” She spat, hanging up the call. Pocketing her phone, she retrieved her tea. The kitchen didn’t feel warm now, all cold linoleum floors and hard marble counter tops. They must have made the small echo when the alarm went off, which she’d mistakenly heard from Jason’s phone. She put the casserole in the fridge and headed back upstairs, careful not to spill her hot drink.

The light in her bedroom was off. She paused, hands trembling, thoughts racing. Somehow she still managed to pull her phone free. Call the cops? Her blood thumped in her ears like dual bass drums. She’d fell like a fool if they arrived, only to change out a dead bulb for her.

Another chilly breeze slid across her skin like a corpse’s fingers. She shuttered. “Just a dead light bulb.” She muttered aloud. “No reason to freak out. Stupid air conditioner’s on the fritz again too.”

It took her three tries to turn on the flashlight app, on her phone. She swallowed her fears and marched into her room. Her phone threw a stark, white light over the thick carpet and the bottom half of her princess jasmine bedspread. Something moved in the darkness, scratching against the far wall. She took one step closer, turned and let loose a wordless scream.

Fluffy lay pinned against the wall, soaked in blood. A bone-handled knife held her cat in place, just below the jaw. Nausea washed over her, her head swam. Her muddled thoughts tried to grasp some meaning behind it. How could this have happened? It all seemed to unfold in slow motion. It didn’t seem quite real, like a nightmare when she was on the cusp of waking up.

Then Susie saw the jimmied lock hanging uselessly from the torn window frame. A puddle of water and blood just below it thinned out into individual foot prints leading— to the closet just behind her. Glancing up at her reflection in the window, she saw another long, bone-handled knife flickering back at her like a thin quarter moon. Then she noticed the row of white teeth, lips peeled back in a smile, and dropped her phone.

“It’s okay Suzie.” Jason purred from the shadows, all feigned drunkenness gone. His voice serious, businesslike, as if collecting his due from a debtor. “You won’t have to say a word.”

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This is a very short story I wrote while experimenting in the Kaltor universe. I decided to throw it up for free as a ‘tide-me-over’ until the next story hits the shelves. Enjoy 🙂

Tomb of the Braylith

Klasdane’s eyes filled the cavern with blue light as the power of his ancestors pierced the shadows, searching for his quarry. The gnawed remains of its earlier meals attested to the sharpness of a braylith’s claws, a half-dozen of which hung from his neck. It was a dangerous profession, killing these things, but the town was ill-equipped for the challenge and he needed the gold.

The rocks at his feet were still wet with fresh blood, a young girl’s. After seeing her weeping mother, he volunteered for the job. Klasdane crept deeper into the chamber, spear in both hands, skinning knife sheathed at his side. He listened in vain for breath or movement.

Angel mold glowed in faint white blotches along the walls and ceiling. A few stalactites broke the silence with an occasional, mournful drip. Thin gouges in the floor collected each bit of water and fed them into a cistern of sorts at the cave’s center, the remains of an old fort.

The spatters of dried blood ranged high along the walls and ceiling. Bare bones lay discarded along the floor of the chamber, as if intentionally left behind to warn the Braylith should Kalsdane’s steps knock one askew. “What the…” Leaning in close, he realized the marrow wasn’t sucked from them, as most braylith’s were want to do.

With a deep breath, he bit back the urge to vomit and followed the freshest sent of rotting flesh. It led him down the widest of two tunnel networks. Klasdane regarded the passage carefully, noting the brightness of his ancestral power. With a nervous sigh, he closed his eyes, embracing the darkness.

Gently, he worked his way down the tunnel, feeling his way along with the tip of his spear. He forced himself to slow his pace to a standstill. No breaking of bones or tearing of flesh met his ears. Nothing breathed in deep, satisfied slumber. Klasdane edged forwards and felt something hard resist the touch of his spear, he paused. Had the town watch already wounded it so severely?

He lifted his spear. Something metallic twanged in the darkness. Arrows whistled past him like a sudden swarm of angry bees. Pain tore into his right arm as he threw, throwing him to the ground. Blue light burst from his eyes, illuminating the arrow shaft buried in his right arm. Shadows flitted around him as he stumbled back into the main chamber, breaking the arrow shaft in half with a grunt of pain.

“Impressive.” The sheriff sauntered into view, cocky and armed with a sturdy short sword in either hand. “Most adventurers just figure its asleep and go charging in. You didn’t.”

“The ‘braylith’ you mean?” Klasdane spat. His right arm throbbed terribly. He held his spear awkwardly in his left. “This is no lair. I saw the fake for what it was. Why the charade?”

The sheriff chuckled, raising his weapons. “It’s quite simple really. The people need something to fear and there’s always an idealist that needs to disappear. The peacebinder religion is gaining ground and too many people these days seek equality over order.”

“So now, when you need someone dead,” Klasdane hissed, backing up to the center of the cave. “you just drag them to this cave and blame it on a braylith.”

“Indeed.” The sheriff replied, whirling his short swords. “If a few hot headed youths have to die too, such is the risk of going after brayliths. They can smell souls, I hear, so adventurers have to take them one-on-one, perfect for our little cause.”

“So why are you hesitating?” Klasdane said, eying the sheriff stance suspiciously. “I’m wounded, why are you waiting?”

“Well,” the sheriff admitted, nodding towards their surroundings, “we obviously could use some help making this lair look respectable and you are in need of gold, are you not?”

Klasdane paused, licking his lips as he glanced at the man’s hefty coin purse. “What are you offering me, exactly?”

“Enough gold to set you right, for months.” The sheriff said, shrugging his shoulders innocently.  “Say the braylith wounded you and you fled, obviously. Help us make the farce look truly believable. Then walk away. You don’t owe the Peacebinders anything.”

Klasdane walked over to the small cistern and took a sip of the cool water, toying with the thought of so much gold. The temptation vanished in a single realization. “What about the child? She wasn’t even a Peacebinder.”

The sheriff’s confidence flickered for a moment. “That was a mistake that needed correcting.”

“A mistake…Whose?” Klasdane echoed, picturing the faces of the townspeople, the sheriff and the child’s mother. “By the Gods, she was your child, wasn’t she?”

“Now, she’s just another victim of the braylith.” The sheriff said, shrugging his guilt aside. “Do we have a deal?”

Someone yelped in the distance. Outside the cavern, a brawl erupted. “We suspected as much.” Klasdane said fiercely. “My friends followed your deputies, just in case. That young girl was my niece, you monster.”

The sheriff’s eyes widened in shocked realization. “How much gold would it take?”

Klasdane answered with a firm kicked at the still water, sending a wave of icy cold into the sheriff’s face as he dove in. Blade snapped against spear. Klasdane slammed into the sheriff’s chest. They tumbled to the moss-covered ground. One of his attacker’s swords clattered away, but the sheriff pinned Klasdane by the throat, holding his sword aloft.

“This is how yo-” The sheriff sputtered. Klasdane kicked the blade aside. Metal severed leather and he yelped as warm blood filled his boot. He pulled his skinning knife free and rolled atop the sheriff, plunging the blade into his neck.

“As to the legend of the Braylith,” Klasdane grunted, watching the life fade from the sheriff’s surprised eyes. “consider it slain.”