‘Masterpiece’ by Matthew Taylor

I’ve been lying down for hours now. It’s 5:35AM and there’s not much I can do. You know what the worst part about my situation is? I’m in the same room as my parents. They keep looking at me, and I can’t help but look back and try not to cry or scream. Their eyes are focused on me and their mouths are wide open. There’s a strong scent of blood and I feel paralyzed with fear.

Here’s the thing. The second I make any hint that I’m not asleep anymore, I’m completely fucked. I will die and there’s nobody around to save me. I’ve been trying to think of a way out but the only idea I have is to rush for the front door and scream for help, hoping any neighbors hear me. It’s risky, but if I stay here, I’ll surely die. He’s waiting for me to wake up and see his masterpiece.

You’re probably wondering what’s going on. I do tend to get ahead of myself sometimes. Continue reading

‘The Scarecrow Game’ by Scarecrowgirl

I have a story to tell about one of my imaginary friends. I don’t know if it’s the scariest story, but it’s a real one, so I thought I’d type it up and share it here. But it requires a bit of background before I get to the real crux of it. I hope you’ll bear with me.

When I was young, my family lived in a small, rural town in Virginia. It was the kind of town where no one locked their doors. It was bordered by patches of old farmland and forest, and the yards were huge and sprawling, many with fruit orchards at the back.

The street I was on didn’t have any other children on it, unfortunately, but I had a few friends at school, and we went on hayrides, picked pumpkins, and visited each other often. At home, I probably would have been lonely, except, like many children, I had imaginary friends to keep me company. What maybe made me different from other kids was the sheer number of imaginary friends I had, and the very specific circumstances in which they showed up.

There was a little boy that played with me in my room at night. I remember I used to make fun of him for wearing a dress, this weird lacy blue thing, and he would scowl and throw blocks at my head and sulk, and sometimes disappear entirely for days on end, so I learned to stop teasing him about it. Years later, I realized it was an old-fashioned nightgown, the kind both little boys and little girls used to wear. Maybe I’d seen it in a book, or on TV, and incorporated it into my daydreams. At the time I just knew he was dressed funny. We played with his toy trains, which he could send spinning through the air, something I never got the knack of myself but thought was a lot of fun. Sometimes he would bring them out while I was eating dinner with my family, and I’d point them out to my parents, the trains dancing around the ceiling. They laughed, and told me they couldn’t see them, which annoyed me at first, but I eventually got used to it.

The one time I remember my parents being concerned about any of my imaginary companions was when I said I had made friends with a man named Michael, a young man in old-fashioned clothes, with a funny cap, and he always carried a stick over his left shoulder. I told them that I met him in the orchard and that now we were boyfriend and girlfriend, that we were going to get married. This naturally concerned them a bit, which I found it baffling at the time, but once I chattered away at Michael in front of them, they calmed down. Obviously this was yet another of my cadre of imaginary friends, not a strange man preying on their daughter. Continue reading

‘The Frontier Guards’ by H. Russell Wakefield

“What a charming little house!” said Brinton, as he was walking in from a round of golf at Ellesborough with Lander.

“Yes, from the outside,” replied Lander.

“What’s the matter with the inside–Eozoic plumbing?”

“No; the ‘usual offices’ are neat, if not gaudy. Spengler would probably describe them as ‘contemporary with the death of Lincoln,’ but it’s not that–it’s haunted.”

“Is it, by Jove!” said Brinton, gazing up at it. “Fancy such a dear little Queen Anne piece having such a nasty reputation. I see it’s unoccupied.”

“It usually is,” replied Lander.

“Tell me about it.”

“During dinner I will. But you seem to find something of interest about those windows on the second floor.”

Brinton gazed up for a moment or two longer, and then started to walk back in silence beside his host.

In a few minutes they reached Lander’s cottage–it was rather more pretentious than that–an engaging two–storeyed structure added to and modernised from time to time, formerly known as ‘The Old Vicarage,’ and rechristened ‘Laymer’s.’ Black and white and creeper-lined, with a trim little garden of rose-trees and mellow turf, two fine limes, and a great yew, impenetrable and secret. This little garden melted into an arable expanse, and there was a lovely view over to some high Chiltern spurs. The whole place just suited Lander, who was–or it might be more accurate to say, wanted to be–a novelist; a commonplace and ill–advised ambition, but he had money of his own and could afford to wait.

James Brinton, his guest for a week and a very old friend, occupied himself with a picture gallery in Mayfair. A very small gallery–one rather small room, to be exact–but he had admirable taste and made it pay.

Two hours later they sat down to dinner.

“Now then,” said Brinton, as Mrs. Dunkley brought in the soup, “tell me about that house.”

“Well,” replied Lander, “I have had, as you know, much more experience of such places than most people, and I consider Pailton the worst or the best specimen I have heard or read of or experienced. For one thing, it is a ‘killer.’ The majority of haunted houses are harmless, the peculiar energy they have absorbed and radiate forth is not hostile to life. But in others the radiation is malignant and fatal. Pailton has been rented five times in the last twelve years; in each case the tenancy has been marked by a violent death within its walls. For my part, I have no two opinions concerning the morality of letting it at all. It should be razed to the ground.”

“How long do its occupants stick it out as a rule?” Continue reading

‘The Toll-House’ by W.W. Jacobs

IT’S all nonsense,” said Jack Barnes. “Of course people have died in the house; people die in every house. As for the noises–wind in the chimney and rats in the wainscot are very convincing to a nervous man. Give me another cup of tea, Meagle.”

“Lester and White are first,” said Meagle, who was presiding at the tea-table of the Three Feathers Inn. “You’ve had two.”

Lester and White finished their cups with irritating slowness, pausing between sips to sniff the aroma, and to discover the sex and dates of arrival of the “strangers” which floated in some numbers in the beverage. Mr. Meagle served them to the brim, and then, turning to the grimly expectant Mr. Barnes, blandly requested him to ring for hot water.

“We’ll try and keep your nerves in their present healthy condition,” he remarked. “For my part I have a sort of half-and-half belief in the supernatural.”

“All sensible people have,” said Lester. “An aunt of mine saw a ghost once.”

White nodded.

“I had an uncle that saw one,” he said.

“It always is somebody else that sees them,” said Barnes.

“Well, there is the house,” said Meagle, “a large house at an absurdly low rent, and nobody will take it. It has taken toll of at least one life of every family that has lived there–however short the time–and since it has stood empty caretaker after caretaker has died there. The last caretaker died fifteen years ago.”

“Exactly,” said Barnes. “Long enough ago for legends to accumulate.”

“I’ll bet you a sovereign you won’t spend the night there alone, for all your talk,” said White suddenly.

“And I,” said Lester.

“No,” said Barnes slowly. “I don’t believe in ghosts nor in any supernatural things whatever; all the same, I admit that I should not care to pass a night there alone.”

“But why not?” inquired White.

“Wind in the chimney,” said Meagle, with a grin.

“Rats in the wainscot,” chimed in Lester.

“As you like,” said Barnes, colouring.

“Suppose we all go?” said Meagle. “Start after supper, and get there about eleven? We have been walking for ten days now without an adventure–except Barnes’s discovery that ditch-water smells longest. It will be a novelty, at any rate, and, if we break the spell by all surviving, the grateful owner ought to come down handsome.”

“Let’s see what the landlord has to say about it first,” said Lester. “There is no fun in passing a night in an ordinary empty house. Let us make sure that it is haunted.” Continue reading

‘The Thing that Stalks the Fields’ by David Feuling

It was a few weeks ago that the hay bales started creeping slowly away from the house. Every morning when I woke up, each had moved a few hundred feet from where it was before. I assumed it was pranksters with nothing better to do, and I so I ignored it. Within a few days, though, the bales began to approach the boundaries of the farm. I was tired of the whole game by then, and decided to move them back. It took a tedious hour to bring them all from where they were to over near the house again, and by the time I was done I was ready to snap the neck of whatever little pissant was deciding to screw with me.

The next morning, I found each and every one of my horses messily decapitated. The smell was what woke me up. Each one was slumped over against the side of its stall. There were no signs of the heads. I spent the rest of the day cleaning up the mess and burying the remains. It was only when I was done that I noticed the bales of hay had all returned to their positions from the day before, scattered far out into the fields. This time I left them where they were.

That night I sat on my porch with my shotgun in hand and a pot of coffee on the table beside me. I sat for hours, straining my eyes into the fields to catch a glimpse of who was moving my hay bales. Finally, I was beginning to nod off. I would have, but just as my eyes began to close I heard a clamor and a rustling of trees from the nearby woods. I leaned forward, my heart racing with excitement; I was going to catch the bastard. I fumbled with my gun and fidgeted in my seat, waiting anxiously for whoever it was to get close enough to ambush. It was only when the thing got close enough for me to make out its silhouette in the dark that I was frozen still. The thing that crept into my fields from the nearby woods didn’t seem to notice me sitting there. It stalked, hunched and deliberate, through the field with the posture of a tiptoeing thief. If not for the fact that it must have towered to over ten feet tall even in its crouched position, it might have seemed almost frail. The thinness of its arms and legs and the emaciated, caved-in quality of its chest reminded me of a starving animal. Still, this thing was undeniably strong, and I watched it hoist each bale up into its arms with ease, and set it down carefully a while away, taking only a few strides to cover the distance. I watched it work, moving each bale thoughtfully. Every once in a while it would straighten up to look around at the other bales’ positions in the field, before adjusting the one it was working on ever so slightly. Continue reading

‘Sarah O’Bannon’ – Author Unknown

Coffins used to be built with holes in them, attached to six feet of copper tubing and a bell. The tubing would allow air for victims buried under the mistaken impression they were dead. Harold, the Oakdale gravedigger, upon hearing a bell, went to go see if it was children pretending to be spirits. Sometimes it was also the wind. This time it wasn’t either. A voice from below begged, pleaded to be unburied.

“You Sarah O’Bannon?” Yes! the voice assured.
“You were born on September 17, 1827?” Continue reading