Happy Halloween! I’m more festive this year than ever before. Perhaps it’s because I’m having generally a better year than last, but I have been quite in the spirit since the beginning of the month. While I completely missed the opportunity last year to do this, I’m taking that chance and coming back with four great stories and a series. Let’s call this our new tradition!
Horror is my sick addiction. I think aside from the morbid curiosity and the joy of yelling “run away” or “don’t open that” there’s this sense of critical thinking that comes into play. Fear is something we all have, no matter how tough we think we are and can escape it. Some of us fear heights or water, some of us spiders and snakes, but that feeling within when you stumble upon a fear you never knew you had is amazing. I don’t fear kids, but as soon as I see a black eyed four year old across my screen, I begin to side eye my child and want her as far away as possible. Those feelings in fiction are too beautiful to ignore. And beside listening to the real life horrors in Sword and Scale or the more historical folklore-based horrors featured in Lore, I like to read and freak myself out at 3am occasionally for no good reason.
Now, for the formalities of this newfound tradition: For those that don’t know, I leisurely cruise the tag of /r/nosleep on Reddit. Not everything is a treasure, but I love the effort everyone makes in their work and how they all linger on me for some time after. Because of my appreciation for the horror and the craft of writing, obviously, I gather the best stories I find from the forum and bring them here. I don’t copy the entire work so these links will take you to the site itself. There comes a big content warning with everything here, so please read at your own discretion.
A Package Marked “Return to Sender”
My neighbor is one of those annoying wannabe YouTube personalities. Over the years, I’ve seen him cough out cinnamon, lay flat on the hood of his car as it slowly creeps down the driveway, and douse himself in lukewarm water, all the while screaming epic win, epic fail, or, fuck, epic maintenance of the status quo, for all I know. It can get tiring to watch him go about his shenanigans in the pursuit of viral fame. So, when he knocked on my door the other day, told me he was going away for a few weeks, and asked that I get his mail, honestly, it was a relief. I can’t explain the peace of mind I had knowing I didn’t have to brace myself for any of his stupidity for a while. I was always afraid his stunts would wind up bleeding over into my life.
Read it here.
I had a friend who lived in the air vents.
When you’re a little kid, you do some strange stuff to get attention. Especially when you’re an only child and then poof, you’re not, you’re getting the “little brother or sister” pep talk from Mom and Dad and everything changes. You’re used to being the center of their world, being told you’re the most special little girl, but as Mom’s belly gets bigger and bigger and Dad’s patience with you gets smaller and smaller you realize it’s not going to go back the way it was. Not ever.
Read it here.
“Look at yourself in the mirror,” he’d say. “Remember how beautiful you were? Do you love what you see now?”
He’s such an asshole.
I can’t bear the thought that he might be seeing someone else already.
I miss him and plan on never seeing him again.
That’s why I bought the house on Hill Street.
Read it here.
Tales from the Gas Station
I wish I could easily decide what was the weirdest thing to ever happen to me, but I can’t. There were so many.
I’ve seen a total of four coffins inside the store on three different occasions.
I’ve met at least a dozen people wandering back into town from the woods claiming they had escaped aliens or government conspirators or cultists and that they had no money but needed to make a call and could I please just let them use our phone before “they” find them again. But rules are rules and I’m not going to lose my job just because you didn’t escape captivity with a little pocket change.
I Don’t Think Jacob’s Captors Let Him Go By Accident
At the age of twelve, Jacob had been kidnapped from his home in the middle of the night. His parents had been apparently drugged by an unknown person, and their son had been stolen. No one even called the police until the parents woke up. No witnesses, fingerprints, ransom notes, nothing.
Five years later, almost to the day, he showed up at his parent’s door. He was bloody, filthy, and soaked with morning dew, but very much alive. A twelve year old went missing, and a seventeen year old reappeared.
Read it here.
(Bonus) Please don’t leave me.
I could twist this story it into metaphors where nurses turn into robots who say in a monotone, programmed voice:
“I am sorry you feel like you are dying, Patient Number 301, I am now going to put patients Number 302 through 309 to bed so that I don’t get behind on my schedule. Please curb your hollering and if you must die, do so in silence as to kindly not inconvenience my pace.”
But I feel I don’t need to. It is scary and gruesome enough as it is. Truth is sometimes scarier than fiction.
Read it here.
That’s it for this year! If you want to get your fix beyond what I’ve linked, take your chances in the tag. Trust me, it’s the one of the only sides of Reddit that is wholesome and filled with comments worth reading. If you want something you can hold in your heads, consider checking out Spill Yr Guts where not only is my work featured but the amazing and incredible work and artwork of many other human beans. It’s a horror zine that wil be looking for submissions come this December. Give it a look and tell Sonya I sent you!