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The Man Between The Rain – Horror – 1300 words

Night 1

His mind wonders between the pitter-patter of rain, the thick drops landing on the wet ground, a percussion section winding down the orchestra of the waking world. Through the tall grass he weaves, it sways dreamily in his imagined breeze.
He presses his hand against the rough bark of an old oak tree. Feels its years in the deep groves of its brittle skin.
He’s stepping over roots entwined long before him, a path through the centuries that extend as far as he can see.
The deep green glow of the forest begins to dim as it swallows the fading light of the setting sun.
A pathway built of time leads him through to a clearing, a ring of peace formed around him and for him. He lies on his back and closes his eyes, letting the lullaby of tiny hoofs carry him to sleep.

Night 2

The leaves of the trees rustle in the gentle breeze, he can almost feel the drops on his skin; the soothing sound of the rain grows inside his mind, it envelops him, transporting him back to the clearing.
The vastness of the night unfurls before him, an inky blackness punctured only by the fireballs millions of miles beyond. His mind turns to the wonders that must watch them too. To the mysteries, they must illuminate, the secrets within their light.

The dark consumes the last of the world as it finishes its creep across his view. He is pulled from thoughts of the unknown that surround him.
Pulled by a hint of a pattern between the drops, a rhythm, the lapping of waves against the shore, they carry him from the clearing far into the forest.
He stands amidst a grove of Aeons, slight amongst the towering trees. His comfort displaced by the sense of a presence. His gaze drifts and then hurries. He strains to see what isn’t there. He squints to see what he can not, a fade in the foliage, a weight to the air.
He takes a step towards the nothingness. He can feel it pulling him. A place within him wants it to. But he stops. He will not let it intrude. He breathes deeply, letting the rhythm of the breeze influence his breath, letting the rain clear his thoughts. Letting himself be carried back to the clearing to his solace, his peace, his rest.

Night 3

The sweet scent of freshly fallen rain mixes with the heady fragrance of the forest, lifted into the air by the disturbance of the rain.
Giant Oaks and firs huddle together around him as if he was a fire they were protecting from the wind. He lies there, the raindrops patter his face. They run down his brow, dripping off his chin onto his neck. He feels them now. They are colder than the air. They create a cooling mist, he rests in it.
A protective atmosphere in his protected clearing.

But he hears it again, Softly, slowly, rumbling. A drum beat, the sound of marching from deep in the earth, from deep within himself. The tempo of waves lapping at the shore, steady, the constant of time moving forward, of all the time past that makes it swell. Quick notes stab through the rhythm as he sees it. As the tide creeps up the shore, it rides it, the shade within the night. The darker black he can not see, it stands there now at the clearings edge.

He senses its gaze on him as it lurks between the trees. He listens for the quiver, for the snap of branches the cackle of twigs beneath it, but the beat of the waves is all. It prowls along the edge of his comfort, waiting to be beckoned, waiting to emerge. He feels it, the coldness mounting at the base of his spine, the fear beginning to grip, restricting his lungs to shallow breaths. He is drifting into its gaze, he breaks away, fear beginning to consume him. He stares into the rain-soaked ground, between the blades of grass, into the lakes of water between each fallen green sword. He watches them ripple in the rain. He breathes deeper, broader. He counts the drops hitting the lakes, disrupting the worlds beneath them. He tells himself stories of the underwater worlds, he occupies himself, he breathes air into his mind, he doesn’t let the figure in.

He persists. He sleeps.

Night 4

The ground is waterlogged, the clearing spreads under him like sweat-drenched sheets, a matted green fabric of grass and algae. He has to focus to hear the rain beneath the drum beat of the tide, he reaches for the comfort it brought him, but when he picks it out, it’s no longer a soothing patter but a lashing force against him. It hisses against the canopy of trees that loom around him no longer seeming to protect but to judge. A jury peering down on him.

The tides are licking at him now as he lies on his eroding mound of safety. His body is numb and stiffened with cold. The waters muddying his clothes, twigs carried by the tide scratch at his skin. The moon above him radiating menace through the tree line, not playing threatening tricks with shadows illuminating them, the threats within the trees.
They are numerous.
They do not wait to creep into his thoughts. They await him.
All holding hands, a chain-link fence around the clearing, they contain him, as they always have.

He stands, his filthy clothes clinging to his scratched skin as the downpour builds. The figures step towards him, united as one, his darkness tightening its grip. His heartbeat pounds his ribs, a drum beat of his own, but the only tide it rises is the one of fear that threatens to drown him.
The figures’ approach, no more clear now they duplicate outwards, now they close in. No features to frame on no face, a inky shape amongst the dark night. Yet its gaze feels sharp on him, paralyzing him in place.

Their mouths open as one, darker circles of nothingness drawing upwards on the shadowy figures, readying to receive.
They let the rain pour into them. They let his peace, his solace, his safety be their communion. They let it flood into their mouths, let it engorge them, they consume it all, they grow, blood leeches on his mind, they feed.
Like the trees that surround them, they loom now tall and strong, the goodness in him consumed by the darkness.

He falls into them as easily as falling into a well.
They stretch out above him as he falls further and further. He awaits the comfort of the bottom for the familiarity of the darkness to become his world. He no longer needs to fight it, he will embrace it, and it will embrace him.
They reach to him as he plummets, arms that aren’t their place hands that don’t exist around him. They lower him to the bottom, they place him, he lets them, he accepts them.

No more can the man drift off to sleep listening to the sounds of the rain.
No longer can he distract himself from the dark thoughts that kept him up at night.
The concept of day or night does not exist for the man now.
He is lost to the never-ending abyss .
He can’t wander the world searching for his place. He can’t find solace in a peaceful moment.
He has only the darkness at the bottom of the well.
His battle lost, darkness walks the man’s life, it consumed him, it became him.
When his family talk of him, they will talk of the darkness.
When they visit him, he will not see them, he lies at the bottom of his well now, he always will.

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#Spoilers – A Horror Short Story

Anna was done. Screw it. It wasn’t going to happen this time, not again.
The Internet, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, the whole fucking thing needs a spoiler tag. You can’t escape it. It’s like a bratty little sister.
It gets some sick pleasure from jumping out at you from nowhere and spoiling your favourite Tv show.

She was hanging on a cliff’s edge, metaphorically because, oh, my, god, that last episode, and literally because she would jump the fuck off one if she had it spoiled for her again.
She wants to talk to her friends about it, to all get hyped together like back when everyone watched Lost, they had no clue what was happening, but everyone had a dozen half-baked conspiracies.
Now she spends more time avoiding spoilers than watching the show.
Her anticipation has been replaced with anxiety because one little slip-up, one little crack, and one would get in and wreck the entire experience.

So, Anna made a decision.

A decision that would make sure that none of those pesky spoilers ever hit her again.

It involved her mobile, her laptop, a microwave and 3 minutes at 900 watts. Her anxiety burnt away with a cackle and a bright blue flame. It quickly grew into a small kitchen fire which she dealt with swiftly.
It was fine. It was worth it.

She was free. So fucking free, no more spoliers!

But It didn’t last long.

She was a victim of a second-hand spoiler. All the more painful because someone else had been through the shock and distress of having their show ruined by it first, and decided the best thing to do with that pain is bitch about it in the cafeteria queue and spread the suffering to everyone else.

Well, Anna made a decision about what to do about that too.
So she stabbed the bitch in the leg with her fork.

Her counsellor told her it wasn’t a good decision. Anna Agreed.

That would only teach that one bitch a lesson. What about everyone else? She couldn’t fork them all.

When Anna got home, she made another decision.
Nothing stupid this time, Nothing with a Fork or a Microwave.

For this one, Anna went and got her father’s hand saw from the Shed. She stood in front of the bathroom mirror, took a deep breath, braced her shelf, then sawed off each ear. It was surprisingly painless, and it only took her a few minutes. Before she knew it, she was left with a pile of bloody flesh and cartilage in the sink.
She turned the tap on and watched it wash away down the drain, just like her anxiety.

It was beautiful. Anna was free again, for real this time!

But It didn’t last long.

She was sat in the waiting room at A&E, radiating with the warm glow of self-satisfaction and brimming with the joyful contentment that she would now get to live spoiler-free life. When some obnoxious bitch turns around from the row in front of her to reveal the oh-so-funny meme on her phone that just happened to show Anna the very same spoiler she had heard earlier at the cafeteria, but this time, she got to see it all play out again and again in a 3-second loop.

So, Anna made a decision.

She snatched that phone out of her podgy hands and beat her over the head with it until the security guard pulled her off.
The security guard told her that violence doesn’t solve anything.
Oh, he felt silly, so he wrote it down for her.
He was right. Of course, she can’t go around beating everybody over the head with their phones.
What would that achieve?

When Anna got free of the security guard, she made another decision.

She stormed into the nurses’ office triumphantly. This was it. This was the plan that would free her.
Anna told the Nurse to sit the fuck down. She knew what she was doing.
Anna grabbed the scalpal off of the trolley. She poked it right into the middle of her eye and popped it out with a squelch.
Her eye looked like a chunk of pineapple on a cocktail stick.
Anna used to like it when her mom would make lots of them and spread them into a hedgehog.
Anna shoved the scalpal into her other eye. She couldn’t see it now, but she knew it looked just like mom used to make it with pineapple and cheese.
She liked that thought. She also like that she was completely free now. No spoilers could ever get her again.

That might sound crazy, but Anna knew she could be patient. She would wait for the series to finish, then she could pay someone to write it up in braille for her, then she would get to find out what happens next like the show wanted her to, how it was written.

As the days passed, Annas’ relief would sometimes begin to dissipate, replaced by a feeling of despair. She had wanted to save herself from spoilers, sure, but now she was left with nothing to do but sit in the dark and wait.
But then she would remind herself that in the end, it would all be ok. She would get her braille copy of the story, and she would enjoy it in peace.

And then the day came, finally, after all the months of waiting in the dark, she received the script in braille. And she had avoided spoilers all that time. She was so smart.
But doing things when you are blind is hard, and when she opened the parcel with the script in it she couldn’t tell she had opened the box upside down. She only realised when she picked up the pages and felt the words.

He died, The End

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Coffee, Cake & Death – 630 words, Horror/Romance

Jamie nervously tapped his fingers against the edge of the table. He gave a shy smile as he tried not to stare at Racheal, who sat opposite him in the small café. As soon as she walked in dressed in an all-black ensemble, her bright eyes widening as she saw him, he knew she was the one.

Racheal knew too. He was tall and slim, his coal-black hair a stark contrast against his pale skin. He had a mischievous glint in his eyes and a wry smile that never seemed to leave his face.

They waited breathlessly for one of them to break the silence.

“I suppose I was looking for someone to talk to.” he cleared his throat and gestured to the Almond milk latte he had ordered for her. “I hope you don’t mind. I remembered you telling me.”

Racheal nodded, looking down at the table. “I’m glad you did,” she said finally. “I know this is a bit forward. It’s just they don’t sell lemon drizzle here. I know it’s your favourite, I hope you don’t think it’s weird. But I baked you one” Racheal pulled out a little brown box with a chunky slice of lemon drizzle in it and pushed it along the table towards him.

They had both been on plenty of Tinder dates before, but this was different. Not just the instant attraction, but they had really listened to each other and made an effort.

She took a sip of her Latte, he took a bite of his Cake, and they lapsed into silence again, a nervous excitement bubbling up within them. Sometimes it didn’t take hours or months of getting to know someone. Sometimes you just knew. The last thing they had expected was to find themselves in the middle of an actual date.

Rachael looked up at him, an unreadable expression on her face. For a moment, Jamie remembered why he was really there.
Unbeknown to him, he pulled the exact same expression as Rachael.

Jamie watched her take another sip.
Rachael watched him take another bite.

Rachael decided she needed to know If he was feeling the same vibe, and she needed to know fast.
“I think I really like you.”
Jamie felt himself blushing, and he quickly averted his gaze, trying to hide his embarrassment.
He’d never been good at taking compliments.
“I feel the same” He took a deep breath. He was going to go for it
“I need to tell you something” he could feel her eyes on him.
“It’s just we don’t have much time. It’s work. It could really get in our way” Confusion stretched across Rachael’s face “Snap”, she said.

Silence started to stretch out between them again.
But there was no time for that. “Let me go first. I think I should,” said Rachael. “It wasn’t a coincidence we matched on Tinder.”
Jamie’s turn for a confused expression.
“I was paid to find you”, Jamie almost choked on his Cake.
Rachael thought how that would have been pretty convenient, actually.
“erm snap?” Said Jamie.

Their mouths went dry, and their hearts started to beat so hard it was almost audible.

“The Cake?” Jamie asked.
“The Latte?” Rachael asked in reply.

They both nodded as their chests tightened and the café started to dim.

“I have the antidote in my…” Jamie said before collapsing and smashing face-first into his lemon drizzle.

Well, that’s less convenient Rachael thought as her throat began to swell and her head went through her coffee cup like a bowling ball.

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