Ben and Lukas stared at the broadcast sky above them.

“Do you think this ever happened before?” Lukas whispered.

“Who knows…” Ben’s fingers curled and wrapped around part of the rags that made up the makeshift splint winding around his chest. “I guess if it ever did, they fixed it… right?”

“Yeah… “ Lukas rubbed his hands on his pants, alternating between wiping sweat and gripping the baseball bat. He’d had to run several blocks to find it.

“You ready?”


Ben swiped his keycard and the lock flashed from red to green. Lukas pushed open the door while Ben carefully placed the card back in his wallet. Lukas didn’t comment on that.

The box was in a back at the loading bay. Lukas wondered how many deaths each step they took represented. How many minutes, how many seconds…

It was tied there, just as they’d left it in the back of the truck.

Ben raised his bat.



“What if they didn’t fix it?”

Nightmare Fuel 2019, Days 16, 18, 19, and 20. No Day 17 prompt posted.

The Dolls Could Talk

The end came suddenly, but the torment was lasting.

We didn’t know why we were here. Why any of us were here.

Many of us came and went. We watched thousands of us being born under harsh lights and with the loud sounds of machinery. We were manhandled… sometimes with hard fingers, sometimes with soft. We were painted and glued. Sometimes, pieces of us came and were given to us. Many of us disappeared, never to be seen again. We heard they went to somewhere good, somewhere nice.

I don’t know which of us started that rumor.

The stench of our births was heavy around us.

There was a strange one on a shelf on the wall. He was one of us, but he wasn’t. He sneered at us around his pipe. “There is no good place, “ he snarled. “No good place at all.”

Some of us listened. Some didn’t. Nothing changed. Some of us were born, some of us went away. It didn’t matter what we thought or what we knew. Or didn’t know. There was a lot we didn’t know.

Some of us… we were rejected.

I was rejected.

We were taken away. This wasn’t a good place. I watched as we were rent limb from limb. Some of it went back to where we came from. I hadn’t thought about it before, but then I wondered how many of us I had been, before.

I was taken away again. I was left in a pile. I guessed I wouldn’t be any of us again.

And I waited.

Nightmare Fuel 2019, Day 13 and Day 15

Bone Meal

I was ready for the trip to be over. Not that I wasn’t enjoying it but everyone’s company was really starting to wear on me. Some people really liked doing things like grocery shopping. But not me. For me, food was just another distraction from whatever other actual important or interesting thing I’m trying to work on. In this case, it was getting in the way of a fantastic paleontological dig. The warm season this far north isn’t going to last forever, and I couldn’t wait to get back to work. Unfortunately, food is a necessity of life.

Right now I was in an inflatable raft making my way back to the dig site. I trailed my fingers in the water, it was beautifully clear and still. Almost as if it wasn’t there at all. At least I didn’t have to row. The folks I’d picked up were super excited when they’d heard about what I was digging up. An OOPArt they call it. A cute little abbreviation for “Out of Place Artifact.” They just had to see it, they said. They were laughing and joking as they rowed and we made our way around the bend.

A voice cut into my meditation, “Hey, so you said it’s a bit beyond here right?” I think his name was Jerry. They called him Jare, or something like that.

I raised my head and turned around, squinting my eyes as I looked ahead. “Yeah, if you look close you can see my tent up there. Do you see that red dot?” I stopped trailing my fingers and began to tap the water. Tap, tap tap… tap tap… tap tap tap…

“Yeah, yeah I can see it!” The raft wobbled a bit as he stood, looking. Everyone was getting excited. Me too, I was excited for this too be over.

Everyone was looking ahead. The water was so clear, so much like glass, if they’d looked behind they’d have seen what they were looking for.

Something white, and cold, and ancient trailing behind the boat.

Something intelligent, and hungry.

The groceries are here, I tapped.

Nightmare Fuel 2019, Day 14

Cold Walk

I said this before but…

… you’re going to catch a cold if you keep coming out here like this.

It’s nice, where they buried me. I didn’t want a fancy grave or anything but, the dead don’t really get to choose these things. I mean, for sure I couldn’t expect the family to do anything differently I suppose. And they have the money for it, so I guess if it makes them feel better…

I heard once that cemeteries used to be social areas for people. It’s really a shame that more aren’t. I mean, think of how many more nice parks we could have if all the cemeteries everywhere were beautiful parks? You know, like this one. And imagine how much more the expensive statuary could be enjoyed. All that Greek-looking stuff… the fountains… the fancy mausoleums… Isn’t it a shame for it to be all fenced in? I mean sure, yeah, vandals and kids or whatever would have their way but so what? How is a rotting old tombstone hidden behind a fence until it slowly fades away any better? And think of the job opportunies for caretakers!

Hey, hey… I know you aren’t listening… well, that you can’t listen… but it seems rude to just stare at you staring at my grave. I know I’m talking over you a bit but it’s really kind of embarrassing to listen, I can’t lie. You definitely give me way more credit for things than I deserve, I think. It’s not that I don’t want to listen, it just makes me blush a bit and well… I can’t help but think that since I’ve died I’ve become your imaginary friend.

But seriously, it’s cold, it’s snowy… take better care of yourself, ok? I’m fine and you don’t need to worry about me anymore.

I forgave you for killing me ages ago, you know.


Nightmare Fuel 2019, Day 11 and Day 12


The window had been clear last night but this morning the thin jagged tendrils of frost had woven their way across the glass. Jake sighed and watched the frost disappear and reappear with his breath. It was still warm enough in the shambles he called home to be comfortable, but he knew that’d soon change.

It always did.

It only took him about a half hour to finish his morning routine and head out the door for the morning slog. The grass wasn’t quite crunchy with frost yet, but he knew it was only a matter of time. He puffed a little, as he walked… he couldn’t quite see his breath yet, but he liked to pretend he was a dragon anyway. Behind him, the house seemed to stare at him sadly as it became smaller and smaller in the distance. Jake shifted his huge, heavy backpack and resisted the urge to turn around and get back under his blankets. He puffed, mightily.

Soon enough, he had reached the school. As usual he was one of the first kids in.

As usual someone had tampered with his locker.

He’d long since stopped leaving much of anything in the locker, so this time he didn’t have to worry about shredded notes or stolen books. This time it seemed he also didn’t have to worry about scrubbing it, either.

This time there was just a doll there. Something a kid would make, roughly in the shape of a person and roughly stitched. With its stitched mouth and stitched X’s for eyes, it reminded him a little of a voodoo doll. Its heart was exposed, and the tag read simply, “Jake.”

He glanced around quickly to see if anyone was in the hallway and then puffed, imagining the doll disintegrating into ash and smoke. But it didn’t, so he stared at it until the noise of other kids made him startle and bit, and he gently set it down on the bottom of the locker. He shrugged out of his jacket and hung it, along with his empty backpack and skittered off to homeroom.

As usual, he was polite and quiet. He answered the teacher’s questions. He responded appropriately to the other students, even as they teased him or commented about him within earshot. No one said anything about the doll… yet.

A girl snapping gum behind him in 4th period asked if he had an extra pencil she could borrow. It was probably the 3rd pencil she’d borrowed from him. He smiled, and said, “Sure,” and handed it to her. As she leaned forward to take it, he imagined reaching out with a long scaly neck and what it would feel like as his teeth punctured her skull. If his jaws were as strong as a crocodile’s, would her brains burst inside his mouth like a cherry tomato? As she grasped the pencil, she looked into his eyes for a moment and paused. His smile slipped a bit. “What?” he squeaked, then winced. He hated how whiny he sounded. Had his mask slipped a little?

Julie snapped her gum again, “…Nothing.” She finally said, leaning back. She looked back down at the worksheet she was working on, and seemed to make a deliberate point of ignoring her. His stomach churned nervously. He turned back to his own worksheet and closed his eyes. He tried to imagine the feeling in his gut was the feeling of a dragon’s furnace boiling inside him. Screw her, anyway.

He caught her watching him again later in the day before school ended. He didn’t linger. In fact, he was in so much of a hurry that he didn’t realize he’d packed the doll into his backpack until he was halfway home. He stopped in front of an abandoned freight trailer with the words “VIRTUAL REALITY” spray painted on the side. God, if only he could unplug from this shit life. He set down the pack and rummaged through it until he found the doll. He tossed it in the general direction of the trailer, and it disappeared into the shrubbery. Fuck you, doll. Fuck you guys. Fuck you, Julie. When he closed his eyes, he could believe his hands were claws, his churning stomach was lava, and his breath was fire. He stretched his wings… then opened his human eyes in his human skull on his human body to stare at the same old writing on the trailer. He sighed and moved on.

The house looked as sad and dewy-eyed as he’d left it, the late afternoon sunlight shimmering off something along the bottom edges of the windows.

Jake made himself some eggs and toast for dinner, and worked on his homework before bed. While washing up for the night, he noticed the water was draining more slowly than usual. But he didn’t have the will to think about what that might mean. He’d look to see if he had Draino or a plumber snake or something tomorrow.

In the night, the cold had deepened. Again, he looked at the glass on the bathroom window. The tendrils were thicker now, softer, and rounder. When he breathed on them they seemed to swell and grow.

No… he could see it. They were growing, organic. They were writhing towards him.

He leaned closer.


Nightmare Fuel 2019, Day 7, 8, 9, 10

The Struggle

Forests are really coffins, you know?
Have you really ever thought about it?
Think about what you walk on.
Maybe you think about the bugs and plants you crush.
But that’s just one part of it.
Think about what’s underneath.
What’s underneath is a pile of earth.
Fine, nutritious soil.
A mass grave.
Nothing but a molding pile a corpses.
And not just regular corpses, I mean.
It’s an open-air den of wickedness.
Rotted flesh.
The wastes of plants and beasts.
Digested, putrid remnants.
Bones, and things that were once bones and are now slime.
Being devoured even now.
As you stand there.
You stand in death.
Tendrils and lengthy ropes of monsters writhe beneath your feet.
Feeding, shitting, and feeding again.
There are eyes on you.
There are legs crawling on you.
There are things waiting there in the soil.
Waiting to get on you. Waiting to get in you.
Wanting to taste you. Wanting to consume you.
Even now, some do not wait. Perhaps a mosquito slides a piece of itself inside you.
It penetrates you. Tastes you.
Perhaps it puts something inside you.
Something else that was wanting you.
Something that begins to digest you. But just a little bit.
Bit by bit, things begin to rot you.
Things in the air.
Things in the soil.
Things that live, and breathe and crawl.
Lifeless things, as well.
They degrade you.
They rot you.
Your body is a forest.
Walking, and eating, and rotting.
Things begin to eat you.
Nightmare Fuel 2019, Day 4

Black Eye

It seemed like everyone had come out to watch the house burn. Even a woman wearing nothing but a wispy pajama robe. The owner, maybe? Daniel wasn’t sure, but he guessed she must be. Who else would possibly be wanting to stand out in the chill October evening breeze like that, just to watch a house burn? The light from the flames played across her face and he could see what looked like the beginning of a bruise there, across her right eye and cheek along with a nasty gash. He didn’t really know anyone yet in this town, so he wasn’t sure about her or her situation, but he could take a guess.

But he didn’t her man with her, or anyone that might be her man. Just other neighbors, watching like he was. Some drinking beer. Most gossiping excitedly. A few had even pulled out some lawn chairs. Guess they didn’t have to worry about work in the morning.

He went back to bed shortly after the fire trucks and the ambulance arrived. He imagined they’d patch up her face, patch up that nasty gash. He figured, maybe tomorrow he’d ask her if she was OK.

But he didn’t see her tomorrow. Or the next day.

But when he looked, really looked, at that house from his window it seemed that the house, with it’s boarded up windows and blacked right side was looking back.


Nightmare Fuel 2019, Day 5

Please Release Me

“Oh, sweet Jesus…” I moaned. My fingers twitched and curled around the ornate metal shaft. For a moment, I almost forgot myself. Almost. I tightened my grip. Licked the salt and snot from my lips. Fluid leaked from my eyes and nose. My legs and crotch chafed under damp fabric. Leaning against the rigid pole, I hooked one leg around it. I rubbed my face against the cold, smooth surface like a babe seeking a teat.

“God, please…” I heard myself making soft, whimpering sounds as I rattled the chains that lashed me to the rod. I couldn’t help myself anymore and I broke down, begging for release.

And then, out of the mist a hand reached towards my nose. And scratched.


Nightmare Fuel 2019, Day 3


This really, really blows.

Here I am, again, on the train. Alone. And why am I alone? Because he is on the train with me. Even though he is sitting as far away from me as possible and pretending I’m not there, which is pretty damn childish no matter how you look at it. But even more so when you’re literally the only being in the car.

And why is he there at all? Because he’s been sulking for the past week about how I broke up with him.

And of course, no one whose got at least a couple of neurons to rub together wants to get involved in a spat involving Anubis. Of course.

I sighed.

There’s nothing more horrible than a sulky ex.


Nightmare Fuel 2019, Day 2

The Breakening

An Expressions of Madness crossover. Long story short: I took a break from catching up on Nightmare Fuel when…


“Damnit…” I muttered. My throat and stomach were tight. Unlike the writing on my laptop which was lose and flaccid. Both, pathetic. I sighed. My spouse had filled the house with the reek of freshly-made lasagna. Not having had breakfast yet, the stench was overwhelming and more than a little distracting. But did they make breakfast? No. Of course not. Would they make breakfast? Never. Apparently on the pain of death.

I sighed, again, and set my laptop aside. I didn’t even know what I wanted. Just something quick and easy, I guess. Nothing was really appealing to me. Not even the lasagna, which was cooling on the counter. Hunger without a specific craving was so annoying. I spied an old box of cereal on the counter. There better be enough left in there… I shook the box. Just barely enough.

I was still looking at the box while I groped in the cabinet. The sudden explosion of white around me catching me completely by surprise. Flakes of ceramic of all sizes spread and drifted all around me like a demented Christmas snowfall. The sound, out of place, reached my conscious brain a moment later… the sharp chatter of fractured reality ringing around me like a bell. Above me, the volume of cereal bowls had been reduced by a third. Below and at level, God’s dandruff spread in an infinite field of albedo and broken jagged patterns.

“Are you alright?” they asked from the bathroom.

I stood in the dingy, stinking kitchen surrounded by the shattered remains of two dollar store cereal bowls.


Nightmare Fuel 2019, Day 6

Pre-prompt submission.