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Horror Flash Fiction by John C Adams

I've included three pieces of flash fiction in this post. I hope you enjoy my stories!

Terrible Twos

Twenty-year-old Narcissa was tempted to fill herself with rage before she exploded in front of her former husband’s face.

Patrus Flint was a bully and a murderer.

He’d used his amulet to kill her just after she’d given birth to Brett two years ago. Now Patrus was planning to take a second wife: that cheeky Irish barmaid Aoife from the Black Dragon pub in Hellhole.

He knew Narcissa was angry. He’d expect her to attack him in her usual form, a cloud. She’d rained down destruction on Blackacre a hundred times since she’d died, but he had always found a way to fight her off.

Instead, she bided her time and decided to use their son as her weapon.

That night, Narcissa floated in through the front-door keyhole, a faint blue mist that Patrus wouldn’t detect as he sat snoring in his chair by the fire in the parlour. She drifted upstairs to the nursery where Brett was tucked up in his cot.

She surrounded the toddler in a clammy embrace. He stirred and opened his eyes, his clear gaze calmly resting on his mother. She curled around the cot and poured all the love in her damp soul into the little boy.

Brett took a deep breath. He opened his mouth but no sound came out. For what seemed like an eternity, he held his head back and let his face grow redder with fury. When the sound came, it filled the farmhouse with ire.

Narcissa retreated to a tiny mouse hole in the skirting board. Patrus came clumping up the stairs. He flung open the nursery door and flooded it with light from the landing. Brett stood up in his cot and held his hands out to his father. Patrus lumbered over to Brett and picked him up. He soothed his son until he stopped crying, but Brett stared back at Narcissa over his father’s shoulder.

Patrus put the toddler back into his cot and went towards the door. Suddenly, all the animals on the mural began to grow. They expanded out of the wall until they were no longer small, painted figures.

The rabbit bared its buckteeth at Patrus and thumped its foot so that the floorboards buckled. The black cat, a giant over six feet tall, hissed and spat at him. The wolfhound snarled and leapt at him, sinking its fangs into his ankle.

Brett giggled and clapped his hands, but Patrus stared around. His gaze lingered on the mouse hole. Narcissa put all her energy and focus into keeping her misty outline as small as possible, concealed behind the skirting board. He sniffed the air and strode around the room until he came to the mouse hole. He dropped to his knees and poked his finger into the hole.

The animals snuck up behind Patrus. They waited until he was completely engrossed before they pounced. Brett’s giggling drifted away on the night air as Narcissa escaped through a crack in the wall.

The Devil’s Cemetery

When Patrus Flint buried his twenty-year-old lover Elizaveta and their baby John he chose a secluded spot in an upland valley about five miles from his farmhouse.

During the year that followed local tales sprung up of odd happenings. On the longest day of the year, the anniversary of the deaths, Patrus decided to make a pilgrimage to the grave of his lover and their son. He hadn’t been back there since the funeral.

He left Blackacre at dawn with a knapsack slung over his shoulder. As the path crept around the hills, and the gradient steepened, he began to gasp for breath. He sat down on a rock to rest a while. Pain tightened in his chest, and his heart palpitated.

After a while, he dragged onwards.

A noxious smell reached him whilst he was staggering up to the gravesite. He wound his handkerchief across his face. He’d sent two scientists up here about five months earlier to analyze the gas. One had run to madness and been carted off to Lancaster Asylum. The other had stumbled into the bog and drowned.

Dark rainclouds raced overhead. They drenched Patrus and made the path up the hill slippery. He slid over, landing roughly against the rocks. A jagged cut ran across his torso, but he bandaged his wound and pressed on relentlessly.

At the burial site, someone had fixed a bull’s skull to a post. Patrus kicked it angrily. That old bull had gone missing from Blackacre last month.

The earth was springy, and the post hadn’t been securely placed in the ground. The skull bounced back, hitting Patrus in the face. When he sprawled on his back, the skull fell down and hit his head. He sat up, nursing his wound.

“Damn yer, Elizaveta, I’m here to honour yer and the boy.”

When the ghost of a pale, dark young woman materialized, the shock made Patrus fall into the brook.

The waters dragged him down, spiralling over his head and pushing him towards the bottom. He struggled free of its cold embrace and waded, red-faced, over to the riverbank.

There was nothing less dignified for a man than almost drowning in two feet of water on his own land.

He took off his clothes and spread them out on some bushes. Resting on a flat rock, he fell asleep.

The sound of the ground heaving open shook Patrus awake. The wind had whipped up. His jacket was caught on a hawthorn tree that was slowly drowning in the bog. His shirt had sunk into the brook. His trousers had disappeared.

Patrus clung to the rock as the ground around the Devil’s Cemetery yawned open in front of him.

Tonnes of mud slid down into the cavernous pit. He gripped the rock until the land settled, then he crept away.

He set off towards Blackacre with a heavy heart, accepting for the first time that he deserved the onslaught he’d survived.

I Sang and They Came to Me

The water inlet was peaceful after the turmoil of the ocean, but real safety lay only in the lake itself. The freshness of the water bathed my face as I gingerly swam further down the narrow passageway.

Now, a strange voice echoed inside my head. It beckoned me to swim further north than the usual breeding grounds of my kind. We had always been loners, seldom gathering together for longer than a few days and with decades in between our couplings.

The large beasts of the ocean live long lives and mate only two or three times in a century. To be alone again felt more natural than swimming with the rest of my species. And the voice, alternately sweet and sharp depending on the mood of the Master, was always in my mind urging me on.

When I reached the calm of Darkwater, I gambolled at the surface, allowing my tail fins and massive dorsal fin to become visible from the shore.

The tiny little figures there, jumping up in fear and surprise, were intriguing. Their shouts of warning and excitement amused me.

I sang and they came to me, drowning in Darkwater's inky blackness until the towns and villages along the shore were bereft of inhabitants.

They couldn't resist my voice, and there were moments when I felt almost sorry for them.

But even these were tinged with joy at the satisfaction of draining their souls until there was nothing left.

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