Saturday, October 16, 2021


Maggie stood outside the door, heart heavy. In hand, the gun she was going to use to end her husband’s life weighed even more. But what was the choice? Better her than someone else.

 Behind, Samuel cleared his throat. 

“Maggie, no one would blame you if you couldn’t …”

“I said I would do it and I will.” Straightening her shoulders, she opened the door and stepped inside.

Jake looked confused when she entered the room. He knew someone would be coming, but he didn’t expect this. 

“Maggie, what are you doing?” Then, seeing the gun, he fell silent. His eyes, at first confused, turned to anger. “They can’t honestly expect it to be you?” 

Setting the gun on the table beside the bed, Maggie wrapped her arms around her husband. “I volunteered,” she choked, fighting back tears. 


“Because I love you.” She kissed his forehead. “It needs to be me.” 

Jake laughed. “Babe, you’re strong, but this is a bit much—even for you.” 

Pushing him back, she lifted his shirt. Thick, blood-soaked bandages wrapped his abdomen. “I want to look at your wound.”


“If you’re going to die, I want to see the reason.” 

Sighing, Jake carefully unwrapped the wound in his side, revealing a large portion of flesh torn away by one of the monsters stalking their world. A similar wound was higher on his shoulder blade, and Maggie knew from the way his coat hung, slightly skewed, that his shoulder and arm were gone. She tried to remove the jacket but he wouldn’t let her. 

“Billy should’ve let ’em finish the job.”

“How can you say that?” Maggie snapped. “How could you expect him to leave you there and let them eat you?”

“I don’t want this … to be your last memory of me.”

“It won’t,” she whispered. Kissing his neck, she let her hand graze across his belly before curling her fingers into the thick hair trailing down his chest.

 “Maggie, what’re you doing?”

“We only have a little time before you change …” 

Groping at his jeans, she worked to unfasten the button. 

“Maggie!” Jake pushed her away with the arm he had left. “What the hell—?”

“If I’m going to shoot my husband before he turns into a zombie, the least I can do is make his last moments … pleasurable.”

“You’re insane.”

 Chuckling, Maggie leaned her head against her husband’s good shoulder and breathed in his scent. He smelled good, despite the blood seeping through the bandages. Stifling a sob, she kissed his neck, working her fingers into his hair as she pulled him closer.

 “What if I turn?”

“You won’t.”

“I might.”

“Then I’ll shoot you.”

Maggie guided Jake to bed and pushed him on the mattress before helping him struggle out of the jacket. Jake resisted at first, but Maggie always persuaded him to see things her way. Pressing her lips firmly against his, she tugged off the jacket, revealing the damaged stub. 

“I’m surprised they even bandaged it,”he said. “A waste of needed medical equipment.”

“Maybe you’re immune.”

“Right. You get bit, you turn into a biter.”

“Well, you haven’t yet.”Pulling her shirt off, Maggie reached for her husband’s hand, placing it against her right breast. 

“Maggie, I don’t think—”

“Shhh …don’t think. Right now I need you.”

Despite his protests, she felt the swell bulging against his zipper and grinned. He never could refuse. She tugged his jeans off, then settled back down as she took his cock into her hand. Stroking him, she felt his erection grow and guided him inside of her. Closing her eyes, she tried to pretend the world hadn’t gone to hell around them. 

They were newlyweds again, living in a small cramped apartment where the water was never warm enough for bathing and the neighbors argued until three in the morning …but they were happy. The dead didn’t come back to life and try to eat you. Jake wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her against him, thrusting hard. Maggie moaned with pleasure, his breath teasing her neck. 

“I love you,”she panted, tears mingling with sweat and blood oozing from the bandage. He moaned his pleasure in tune with her own, continuing to thrust up and into her. Pain shot through him as Maggie’s knee dug in his side. 

“I’m sorry,”Maggie cried, moving to let him up. Jake stopped her, pulling her back down. “Don’t be. I never want this moment to end.”

Groping at her breast, he squeezed her nipple. Maggie thrilled at his touch, gasping as she moved against him, this time trying to be more careful. Flicking his tongue across the taut nub, Jake pulled her nipple in his mouth. He cupped his hand around her breast and let go, taking hold of her ass and guiding her movements. 

Maggie stiffened as the orgasm seized her. She felt Jake stiffen, too, releasing his seed. His nose was pressed against her neck, his breathing labored. Then it changed, his pants coming more ragged. 

 He sniffed her ear, his fingers grasping her hair as a new hunger took hold. Suppressing the scream building inside, Maggie lifted the gun off the table and placed the barrel against his head. 

“I love you,”she whispered, and pulled the trigger.   


She stayed with him for an hour, holding him. Sensing her need for privacy, no one came in to check. Finally, she dressed and opened the door. Samuel was waiting, along with three of the others. They would burn the body. There would be no chance of him coming back.

 “Are you alright?”

Maggie looked at Samuel. “I’ll be okay. I just need some time.”

“Take what you need. We’ll be moving on tomorrow. Chris says there’s a large horde heading this way. We should be okay until morning; they aren’t moving very fast. Unless the wind changes, they won’t pick up our scent.”

“I’ll be ready.”

Maggie took one last look at Jake’s body, and headed to the room she shared with two other women. It was empty …they sensed she needed to be alone. Curling up on the bed, she slept, dreaming about happier times and a baby. When she woke up she felt her stomach. She didn’t know how, but she knew. She was pregnant.


 It had been a week since the farmhouse. Everyone was used to picking up and leaving on a moment’s notice. She wasn’t used to the strange swell in her belly. The baby grew fast. She wore baggie clothes, but she worried she might not be able to hide her condition much longer. She sat next to the camp fire, fighting nausea. 

“You okay?”

“I’m fine,”Maggie said, smiling. Barbara had been henpecking ever since Jake, and she wished the woman would leave her alone. 

“You look a little under the weather. I can talk to Sam …see if there’s any medicine.”

“I just need some quiet,”Maggie snapped, and regretted her tone when she saw the hurt in the older woman’s eyes. “I’m sorry …it’s just been …difficult.”

“That’s okay, honey. I do tend to mother a person to death …I mean—”

Maggie stood and glanced around. “I think I’m going to go for a walk.”Seeing Barbara about to protest, she held up a hand. “Don’t worry, I won’t go far.” 
Stepping in the woods, Maggie moved behind a tree and watched the others, making sure no one was going to come and check on her. Barbara surveyed the tree line, worried, but didn’t move. Samuel was talking to Billy about something and hadn’t noticed she’d left …some observant leader. 

She blamed Samuel for Jake’s death. He’d sent him scouting with only a boy for backup. That Billy had managed to kill the zombies attacking Jake, without getting bit himself, was a miracle. 

A breeze blew her way, carrying a scent that made her stomach rumble. She’d stopped eating the rations two days ago. Her baby craved something else. This worried her, but she wasn’t about to tell Samuel. If he knew, he would force her to terminate. This child was all she had left of Jake. She would do what she had to. 

She followed the scent to a rabbit hiding in the brush. It leaped into the open when she approached, but Maggie was quick, tackling the animal before it could escape.

 She ripped its throat open with her teeth, swallowing whole chunks of meat. When done, she followed a narrow path to a stream, and washed off the blood. Removing her shirt, she soaked it in the water, scrubbing at the stains, hoping in the dark, no one would notice the wetness.

 “Well, what have we here?”

Maggie froze at Samuel’s voice. “Ummm …washing up.”

“I can see that. But you shouldn’t be out here alone.”

“It’s safe. Chris and Bradley secured the area before they let us set up camp.”

“Rules are rules. Wouldn’t want what happened to Jake happen to you, too.”

“No, we wouldn’t want that,”she said, fighting back anger. She suspected he’d been hoping something would happen to Jake. He never made it a secret he wanted Maggie. Now she didn’t have a husband standing in his way. 

Looking over her shoulder at Samuel, her stomach growled. Baby was hungry. And she felt another desire building too. She’d never been with any man besides her husband but as her appetite for raw meat increased, so did her craving for sex. She wondered if the two were related. 

Turning to him she smiled, dropping her arms and leaving her breasts exposed. “Of course with you here, nothing is going to happen.”

“Well, well …”Samuel’s hand strayed towards his zipper. Maggie made quick work of his jeans, dropping them around his ankles as she fell to her knees. Inspecting his manhood, she was impressed. She pulled him into her mouth, sucking on his cock while she dug her fingers into his ass. 

Bobbing her head back and forth, she took him in deeper, fighting the hunger. Best to take him at the height of his orgasm. When he let loose his seed, she closed her teeth, biting off his cock in one swift chomp. Samuel tried to scream but nothing came. Maggie spit the severed member from her mouth and leaped on him, ripping his throat open before a scream found its way out of his lungs. 

She ate until full. This time, she didn’t bother washing herself off. The blood could be explained. She ran back to camp screaming zombies attacked her and Samuel. 

Barbara held her while the men searched the woods. There were a few undead not far from the stream; the dead were always around. They killed them, and in the morning moved on. Barbara refused to let Maggie out of her sight.
Maggie was okay with that. The baby was growing rapidly and she wouldn’t be able to hide her pregnancy much longer.

 That was okay, too. The little tyke liked Barbara’s smell …and he’d be needing some food.

No Zombies Allowed

by Lisa McCourt Hollar

They stood in a row; Moon, Walker and the un-named grave. In the light of day it was a curiosity. Tonight would be another matter. Any living visitor remaining after dusk would see the three, not quite dead occupants of the graves rising from their place of rest.

Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft stood within the shadows as the last straggler left. “It is time,” she called, stepping like mist into the waning light.

There was a slight rumbling and a hand thrust up from beneath the first grave and then another from the second. Clearing her throat, Hecate pointed a finger at the third, unmoving tomb, her voice warning that this would be the last call. “It is time.”

The earth shifted and the occupant of the grave lifted his head. “I’m not feeling well. I think I will stay in.”

“I can keep you there permanently if you wish.” The threat understood, the un-dead servant pushed his way out of the dirt and joined the others.

“We have much work to do this Hallows Eve. Hades grows impatient. This world has forgotten the gods and he wishes to remind them of our presence.”

“Sheesh, she’s cranky,” Tobin mumbled, falling in line behind Walker and Moon.

“Quiet, or she’ll hear you.” Moon stopped to pick up his arm, which had fallen off, grinning sheepishly at Walker. "Remember Stone? He called her a wart nosed old hag. I thought she was going to explode.”

“Haven’t thought of him in a long time,” Walker said. “I wonder how he likes being a toad?”

“Last I heard, he found a princess to kiss him and now he’s living in a palace.”

“Huh, some zombies get all the luck.”

“Enough talking back there,” Hecate called out. “Here’s the plan, we need to wreak havoc.”

“Wreaking havoc is what we do,” Tobin said, winking at the other two ghouls.

“We also reek,” Moon said, lifting his arms and sniffing his armpits.

“You’re such a freak…”

“Enough!” Hecate glared at the three, cutting Walker off before the servant could finish his sentence. Moon and Tobin snorted, earning an angry glare from the goddess. “That will be quite enough. One more outburst from either of you…”

“You’ll send us up the creak…” said Moon.

“I think I’d much prefer a jeep…” said Walker.

“Oh, lookie here, I’ve found some creeps."

The three zombie’s stopped, slack jawed, staring at the figure who had stepped into their path. Dressed in a black robe with a hood that covered his head and holding a scythe in one hand and a skull in the other, the creature was the very image of death.

Hecate sighed, “What are you doing here, Grim.?"

“My job. Those three there, they have to go back.”

“Up down, up down… I wish they gods would make up their minds,” Tobin moaned, turning and heading back to his grave.

“Stop,” Hecate hissed. Pointing a finger at the ground, thick weeds came up out of the earth, wrapping tightly around the zombie’s legs.

“Careful,” Tobin said, “not too tight… oh great, you’ve done it now.”

Walker winced in sympathy as his friends ankle crumbled, while Moon, chuckled. Hecate pointed her finger again, mending the ankle and reattaching it where it belonged.

“A little crooked, but not bad,” Tobin said, testing it out.

“Go away,” Hecate said, turning her finger towards the Grim Reaper.

“Can’t do that, Doll; Khronos is being a real tight ass with his No Zombies Allowed rule. I have to round up all undead and put them where they belong.”

“Did he just call me Doll? No one calls me Doll.”

“Yeah, well I was trying to be nice, but now that you mention it, my mother called, she wants her face back.”

“Speaking of Medusa, how is the old hag doing?”

“She’s dating Khronos; you already knew that though or you wouldn’t be trying to make my life so difficult. Three months.. it took me three months to round up the all the zombies. Most of them didn’t want to come willingly. And then there were the bribes. Everyone wants to make a deal with death. I don’t make deals."

“Really, because that’s not what I heard.” Hecate’s smile spread thin across her face.

“What are you getting at,” Grim asked, narrowing his eyes.

“Khronos doesn’t really seem like your mother’s type…”

“You know my mother, every guy is her type… until they turn to stone. She can’t afford to be choosy. Now be a dear and tell your goons to go back where they came from, before I get testy."

“See, here’s the thing Grim, I woke up tonight in the mood for a little Halloween havoc. Life has been dull lately. How about you let me have my fun and I don’t tell your mom how you agreed to pimp her out to your boss. When the night is over, these three go back to bed and you can tell your buddies you survived a run in with me. You know, I can get pretty testy myself.”

“Yeah, not gonna happen. Come on you three, I guess we do this the hard way.”

“I guess we do,” Hecate said. Pointing her finger once more, the ground rumbled bringing forth more of the dead. Old friends greeted each other, family members fell into each other’s arms and old feuds resumed.

“Does it matter who shot the other first,” Hecate shouted, intervening between two brothers, each with a bullet hole in the chest. “It was a duel, you both are equally quick.”

“But who won?” The elder brother asked.

“No one, you both died… idiots.” Touching the two siblings on the arm, Grim sent them back to their graves, dissolving their bodies into dust. Looking around, he moaned, “Three months to get things under control and this broad ruins it all in one night. You two… get a room.”

Reaching for two lovers, Grim pulled them apart, sending their ashes soaring through the air, where their spirits could join together on the wind. “Never say I’m not a romantic.”

“You can’t stop them all,” Hecate said, directing a group of small children towards the town. “It’s Halloween kids, go get some treats.”

“You know, come to think of it, I’m kind of hungry myself,” one of the recently revived said, “ I wonder if anyone has brains on the menu.”

Stepping in front of the zombie, a former mayor of the town who was known for his many appetites, Grim shot the goddess an angry glare. “Hecate, this has got to end.”

“It’s not right, Grim. They don’t care about us anymore. I used to be somebody. Now… now Khronos has me announcing the weather on God’s News Channel. I’m a damn weather girl.”

“Yeah, I know, I’ve got a poster of you hanging on my wall, wearing that red shirt that shows off your…”Hecate tossed a lightning bolt his way.
“I was going to say your eyes! They’re a beautiful shade of crimson.”

“Is that supposed to make me feel better?”

“Well I know looking at it makes me feel better. Hey, easy there!” Grim stepped to the side, narrowly missing getting singed. The grass where he’d been standing was smoldering, leaving a smoky odor to the air.

“The job doesn’t even pay my rent. I live on Mount Olympus you know… only the best for the goddess of witchcraft. I used to get offerings… virgin sacrifices; now I’m lucky if someone sends a prayer my way. I had to take a second job to make ends meet.

“I don’t know what you’re complaining about, at least you have your own place. I live with my mom. Do you know how many times she’s accidently turned me to stone?”

“That would be a problem,” Hecate agreed.

The two grew quiet, listening to the screams coming from the town. “Three months,” Grim moaned, “and now I have to start all over. At least you get a day off here and there. If I take a day it turns into Armageddon.”

“Does she really turn you into stone?”

“Yeah. She says it’s an accident. The photo album says otherwise. She stuck rabbit ears on me for Easter.”

“Well how about we make a deal?”

“I told you I don’t do deals.”

“Then round them all up yourself.” Hecate raised her finger, prepared to summon more dead.

“Wait… what do you want?”

“I have an extra room. Really, it’s a large closet, but I’m not using it and the extra income would be nice. It would get you out of your mother’s basement.

“You’ll send them back to their graves?”

“If I must… but don’t you miss the old days?”

Grim thought about it a moment, then answered, “Yeah, I kind of do. What the hell, I suppose a few hours won’t hurt. Khronos and my mother are taking a ride down the Styx…Charon offers a lovers discount and a guided tour that takes most of the night. Just make sure everyone is back where they belong by morning.”

“I promise. Where are you going?”

“Home to pack; hey, does this make us…”

“Don’t even think it, Grim. Not even in your dreams… and Grim…”

“Yes, Doll?”

“Make sure you leave the damn poster behind.”

Cucurbitaceous Revenge

Thomas stood in the middle of his field, shaking with rage. Every single one of his pumpkins had been smashed. Picking his way through the ruins, Thomas made his way to a corner of the lot. The pumpkins that grew here weren’t the biggest or the best, but they were the most special. He knelt in the middle of the desecration and cried. These pumpkins were a memorial to his wife’s memory.  Halloween had been her favorite time of year. They hadn’t been blessed with children, but every year when they would haul gourds into town, Margie would always give some away to any child that wanted one. Thomas always complained that she was throwing money away, but he didn’t mind; it made her happy. After she died, Thomas continued the tradition, designating the pumpkins from this patch for the children. He also donated a percentage of his sales to the orphanage, in Margie’s name.

This year there would be no pumpkins for the children and no money for the orphanage.

“I won’t let him get away with this,” Thomas vowed. He spoke the words out loud, intending them for Margie, who he always felt was with him. She never answered of course, but he knew she heard him. Tonight, someone else was listening as well. Thomas heard the snap of a branch breaking behind him and turned, ready to face the vandal and mete out justice. His face crumpled when he saw who it was and then splattered into the ground when the big, heavy bat the attacker carried, smashed into his skull. Like the pumpkins around him, his head shattered and sunk into the ground, his blood mixing with the gore from splattered gourds.

A howl sounded across the night as Thomas’s heart stopped beating. The hairs on the back of the killer’s neck rose and he turned, certain he wasn’t alone. There was no one there. He took one last look at Thomas before leaving. The howl was joined by another and then several more, almost as though the creatures of the night were mourning the loss of Thomas Benfield. He gave the man one last look before leaving, saddened that things had come to this. He’d liked the farmer, really he had, but he’d refused to negotiate with him. After assuring himself that there was nothing left behind to tie him to the murder, he left.

The pumpkins were all off. Samuel shook his head, he couldn’t understand it. Old Man Benfield had always produced the best gourds, but he hadn’t bought the land at auction to grow pumpkins. And yet, despite the fact that he hadn’t planted a single seed, the creeping, orange cucurbitaceous plants were now growing out of control.

“The ground is cursed.” Those were the words his wife had spat at him when he’d told her he’d bought the land at auction. “Something evil happened there, and I’ll have nothing to do with it.”

“We only need to live there a few years, we don’t even need to farm it.”

She’d narrowed her eyes suspiciously at him when he’d told her that.  She knew he was up to something, but in this case, he’d come up with a scheme that was flawless.  He had inside information that Dancorp was looking to move a mall into Lansford and the old geezers property was the perfect spot.  All he had to do was sit on the land and then take their money when they were ready to begin developing.

Lana had refused to move into the old farmhouse that came with the property, remaining in town with their son. Samuel didn’t like it. Benfield’s land was secluded and nights got lonely. There were some nights he felt eyes watching him through the windows. But he couldn’t leave the land unattended. Vandals could decrease the value of the land and he wasn’t going to neglect his investment.

Still, seeing the pumpkins that had sprung up overnight, he wondered if maybe the land was cursed.

“Evil begets evil,” Lana had told him when he’d gone by to see her and Sammy earlier that day. He’d wanted to convince her to move into the farmhouse with him.  She had refused.

“Thomas’s killer has never been found and until he is, his spirit will never rest.”  She’d stared at him then, her eyes almost accusing. More imagination. She didn’t- couldn’t suspect that her husband was the one that demolished the pumpkin’s and Thomas’s head. He was a schemer, but not a killer. At least not as far as she knew and Samuel would never give her any reason to believe otherwise.

But then why had she turned down his offer to spend the night?

Samuel was contemplating that, jealousy filling his head as he imagined her in the arms of another man, when something outside the window caught his attention. He could see the section of the field designated for Margie’s pumpkins. There was something moving among them. He went and stood by the window, trying to see. Whoever was out there was small. Then he saw another shadow and then another. The answer came to him- the children from the orphanage. They had come to steal the pumpkins. Thinking quickly, Samuel grabbed his shotgun and went to confront them. It didn’t matter that they were only coming for what had always been theirs, nor did he care that he hadn’t planted the pumpkins… the land was his now and no one was going to take  what belonged to him. A little scare was all that was needed.

The pumpkin patch was empty when Samuel got there. He looked around, holding the gun out for the little brats to see. “Come on out, I know you’re here!”

Behind him he heard someone giggle. It sounded vaguely feminine.

He turned, expecting to see Jenny Collins. She was the only girl at the orphanage and often the first to dive into trouble. He didn’t see her though, only a giant pumpkin that seemed to have crept up behind him. Samuel blinked. The thing hadn’t been there just a moment before. Something moved to his right and he turned again. Another pumpkin was creeping towards him, a large jack-o-lantern grin spreading across its face. Samuel took a step back, frightened as he recognized Thomas leering back at him. The pumpkin behind him giggled and now he knew whose laugh he was hearing-Margie.

Samuel turned to run. Vines quickly wrapped around his ankles and brought him down, pulling him into the earth. He screamed, but there was no one around to hear him.


Lana reported her husband missing, but she knew he wouldn’t be found. She stood out in the pumpkin patch, studying the gourd that was nearly buried in the ground. She dug around it and pulled it out.  With Samuel gone, the land belonged to her. She’d donate the rest of the pumpkins to the orphanage… it’s what Margie would have wanted.  This one though, she would bake into a pie.

Walking away, she wiped a tear from her eye. She still missed her friend. She hoped that she and Thomas were resting in peace now.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Family Curse

My #FridayFrights entry.

The Family Curse
By Lisa McCourt Hollar

Doctor Frank Stein looked down at the body that lay prone on his operating table. It belonged to Henry  Talbot, the town drunk. He had died only a few hours ago; his body was still warm and if it weren’t for the gaping wound in his neck, it would appear he was sleeping off the effects of his drink the night before.  In fact that’s what he was doing when the doctor stumbled over him , down by the pier. Frank had been looking for sailors that had recently come into port; preferably sick with scurvy and willing to come quietly for a few bucks. Someone that wouldn’t be missed.

Henry fit the bill. His disappearance would be noticed only in the sense that he would no longer be source of income to Tom’s Pub. He also would no longer be an unwanted aggravation for law enforcement. Frank Stein consoled himself with that knowledge when he slit the man’s throat. Not only was he doing a public service to the community, he had a perfect test subject for his latest experiment; Life Renewal.

Lifting the same knife he had used to cut the drunks throat, Dr. Stein poised his hand over Henry’s heart. His own heart beat in anticipation of the thing he was about to do. If he succeeded, his place in the medical community and history, would be secured. Placing the knife against Henry’s skin, he cut a thin line, opening the man and revealing the still organ inside.

“You ready to make history?” Frank asked, inserting electrical prongs into the lifeless organ, matching the spikes protruding from Henry’s head. Similar points jutted out of his neck and Frank had even stuck some in the man’s dick. Maybe Henry would benefit from this little experiment in more than one way. Frank chuckled at the thought. He was sure more than one ‘working lady’ would be grateful for anything that improved Henry’s performance.

 In the background Twisted Sister was playing, the beat pulsating, creating excitement in the air as the doctor reached for the switch. Holding his breath, Frank yanked down on the lever and waited for the body to react to the electricity. The body jumped, twitching on the table and then went still as the laboratory was bathed in darkness. The emergency generators kicked in almost immediately, bathing the room in faint, yellow light.

“Damn!” Frank slammed his fist against the wall, cursing his bad luck. The procedure needed to be done before the body went cold and became too stiff to regenerate. In the distance he heard the emergency siren sound. Looking out the window he stared down at the town, the buildings dark shadows against the moon.

“I must have caused a power surge,” Frank said. “I’ll need to make some adjustments before I try again.” Turning back towards his test subject, Dr. Stein froze; the surgical table was empty.

At first he was confused; dead bodies did not just get up and walk away, then he was excited. Dead bodies did not get up and walk away, but live bodies did, or in this case, reanimated bodies. His experiment had been a success!

“Henry?” Frank looked around the room, but he didn’t see his patient anywhere. “Henry?”  The light flickered a little as the generator started to fail and then stabilized. Frank turned slowly, his eyes searching out the entire room. In the corner the door was open. No, not open…gone, having been ripped out of the frame, creating a hole in the wall.

The rest of the castle was dark. The generators only powered the laboratory, something that hadn’t worried Frank when he’d first made arrangements for the emergency power supply. His lab was the only room he could foresee needing the precaution, it was the only room he spent any time in, other than his bedroom, but even that was rarely used. Now, searching the family fortress with only the aid of candle light, he questioned the wisdom of his decision.

“Henry,” he called, as he made his way slowly down the hall, checking every room he came to. Since the doors were still in place, he thought it might be safe to assume they were empty, but he wasn’t about to take any chances, not when there was the Family Curse to consider.

It had all began with his relative, Dr. Frankenstein and that nasty little whore he’d shacked up with.  The woman was a gold digger, only after his fortune. By the time Frankenstein had woken up to what the harlot was doing, half the family fortune was gone. Heirlooms that had belonged to the Frankenstein clan for centuries had been stolen and sold to finance her spending habits.

The trollup had promptly been thrown out on her ass. The harlot though was not done with Victor Von Frankenstein. She fancied herself an author and wrote a book depicting his experiments in the castle.  She marketed it as fiction but that damn woman nearly destroyed him with her lies, the worst the fictional creation of the Frankenstein Monster.

It was true the doctor had been working on a way to reverse death, but he had been far from successful, but when that woman wrote her book, the town went on a witch hunt. There had been a series of grave robberies and they believed Victor was responsible for them. In fact he was, but it was all in the name of science. Greatness was not achieved without taking some risk. In this case, risk brought persecution. Doctor Frankenstein was driven out of town and the castle set on fire.

Several years later Victor’s son returned, but he had changed his name.  Restoring the castle to its original glory, Dr. Jeckle opened up shop, offering his services as a psychiatrist. Unfortunately a change in name did not vacate the curse that had befallen the family at the hands of the bitch, Mary Shelley. His new experiment, one to eliminate the darker side of his test subjects, failed with disastrous results. The castle was abandoned again, this time sitting empty until Frank came across the deed in his mother’s files.

Shelley Stein, (ironic when he thought of it,) had always been a bit eccentric, but once he found the deed and read the diary of one of his ancestors, he realized he had the chance to restore the family name. He didn’t believe in the curse anyway. Sure, he had been unlucky all his life, barely graduating medical school and always being a step behind his friends in success. But that was about to change.

Or about to get worse if he couldn’t find Henry.  Just how far could a recently, reanimated corpse go, Frank wondered. That question was answered as soon as he reached the ground floor and found the main doors ripped out of their frame.  Moving along the mountainside a dark figure could be seen making its way towards the town.

“And of course, I left the damn moat down,” Frank sighed, turning to pack his bags.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Portrait

By Lisa McCourt Hollar

Agnes Crumbottom looked up from the book she was reading as the bell above the front door chimed. “Can I help you?” She asked 
 the woman as she approached the desk.
“I hope so." The woman looked around the shop to see if they were alone. She was holding a large, frame in her hands. Agnes squinted, trying to see what the frame contained, but the woman shifted it, almost like she was embarrassed by the object. “My uncle recently passed away and I inherited some of his artwork.”
The way she said artwork and wrinkled her nose, Agnes got the impression the woman considered whatever art her uncle left her, distasteful.
“I am sorry for your loss.” Agnes said.
“Yeah, well I’m not. He was a horrid man. I’m quite honestly relieved to be rid of him.”
“Umm, congratulations then,” Agnes said, uncomfortably. She looked longingly at her book, wishing the woman would get to the point of her visit, so she could get back to it.
“I did some research on the internet. You are the only occult store in the area… at least the only one that seems legitimate.” Again, the woman’s voice left Agnes with the impression that she didn’t care much for those who practiced the dark arts.
“There are those who make claims they can’t back up,” Agnes said.
“My uncle, well, he claimed he was a vampire and, I know this is going to sound silly, but he had this made. He said it was so he could live on after his death.” The woman placed the portrait on the counter for Agnes to look at. “I know he was delusional, but it gives me the creeps. I would burn it, but… it seems to be flame proof.”
“What do you mean, flame proof?”
“I tried, it wouldn’t burn. I then put it in the trash… but it found its way back inside.”
Agnes looked at the portrait, curious. “Are you sure someone didn’t find it and bring it back inside? Another family member?”
“I’m his only living relative. I’ve never believed in the supernatural, but this picture scares the bejeebers out of me.”
“I’m still not understanding… why have you brought it to me?”
“I read the testimonials on your web page. People who claim you helped remove spirits from their homes.” 
Thewoman sounded desperate and Agnes almost laughed. She’d written all those testimonials herself. Some people would believe anything. She looked at the picture. It was horrible. Uncle Creepy had applied some kind of black gel to his hair and had it slicked back. His face was painted white and his lips were blood red.
“My fee is rather high,” Agnes said, noncommittally.
“My uncle was rich. He left me very wealthy.”
This time Agnes let her smile show. “I think we can work something out.”
Agnes finished locking up the shop, turned the sign to close and shut off the lights. Climbing the stairs to her apartment, she chuckled as she thought about the money she’d taken from the woman earlier. Her name, it had turned out, was Elaine Hightower, her uncle had been Darren Hightower. He’d once been a big political figure in the town. Then he’d taken ill and disappeared from sight. He was still wealthy though and Agnes had just taken a huge portion of his worth. She didn’t feel guilty though. Elaine Hightower, though stupid enough to part with some of her inheritance, was still a wealthy woman.
Kicking off her shoes, Agnes set her book down next to her favorite chair and then headed to her bedroom to change into something more comfortable. When she returned to the living room, she passed the chair and her book, intent on grabbing a snack in the kitchen. She had just opened the refrigerator, when she realized that something had been different about the living room. She turned and looked in. Hanging on the wall was the portrait of Darren Hightower.
“Now how did you get there?”
She looked around. Someone had to come in and put it there. Perhaps his niece? Agnes quickly dismissed that idea though. She walked over to the portrait and studied the image. He was really very good looking, despite the absurd costume. She imagined what it might be like to feel his lips on her neck. For a moment she lost herself in the fantasy, running her hands over her breasts. Then she shook the fantasy off and chuckled.
“I’ve been reading too many romances. Still, you are here instead of in the storeroom downstairs, so maybe there is something to Elaine’s story.”
Agnes took the picture down and stuck it in the hall closet. Then she locked the door, just to be sure. Sitting down in her chair, she glanced towards the closet, making sure it was still shut and then picked up her book and began reading. Before long, her eyes began to droop. Her head sagged a few times. Each time she would jerk her head up and try to focus on the book. Eventually she lost the battle and she nodded off to sleep. Just before dozing off, she thought she heard the closet door open, but was too tired to care.
“Agnes…  Agnes. Wake up.”
Agnes opened her eyes. Darren Hightower was standing over her. She smiled, thinking now she would find out how his lips felt on her neck. She pulled him to her, welcoming his embrace. Then a sharp pain pierced her neck and she screamed.
Elaine Hightower stomped her foot, venting her frustration. Uncle Darren’s picture was back above the fireplace and the stack of money she’d paid the fortune teller was on the mantle, reminding her that this was still his house and his fortune, despite the stake she had put through his cold, dead heart.
“This isn’t over with yet, Uncle.”
She scooped up the money and put it back in the safe, trying to ignore the laugh she heard inside of her head.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Old Flames

by Lisa McCourt Hollar

Emma read the text message again. It hadn’t changed. Things were still over between her and Steve. She squeezed her phone, stopping short of cracking the screen. Who the hell did he think he was?  It’s not you, it’s me. Damn straight it was him. She was awesome, he was dirt. She’d even let him stick his pathetic prick in her and now he was dumping her… for Jessica Kidwell.  Well to hell with him. He wanted to burn bridges, she’d help him out.

Steve flung his arm over Jessica’s sleeping body. God, she was hot. And sane. He really dodged a bullet with Emma, all that talk about marriage. Then he’d heard what she’d done to her last boyfriend. Time to say adios… but from a distance. Slowly he became aware that something was burning. He sat up and looked around. Was that smoke slipping in through the window?

Word Count: 150