Giveaway plus a Flash Fiction Writing Competition (with Amazon gift vouchers for prizes!)
1) Giveaway ! Going live at midnight (click here to enter or on image below) : one prize of a free e-copy of the following anthology:
This anthology is available for purchase here; all proceeds go to the charity LitWorld.org to help encourage children’s literacy throughout the world and is a first collection of stories from the annual Coffin Hop online horror extravaganza.
All the links to the Coffin Hop participants can be found here – do pop along to see what they’re up to!
2) Flash Fiction Competition run by Lost World Press:
For those keen to flex those scribbling muscles, why not try out the Flash Fiction competition on Lost World Press (with Amazon voucher for prizes!) : Flash Fiction Halloween 750 max, all things Halloween in Speculative manner (full details on the site) Happy Spooking ! Don’t forget to hop along to all the others taking part in the Coffin Hop (links on the site)
Here instead: a little bit of nonsense in celebration of the Coffin Hop…
He opened the door a crack and peered out. The snow had not quite melted away, and still streaked the muddy earth. He peered and strained and finally poked his head out. He paused to sniff the air, looked over the ground and finally relaxed. One step forward. The light was grey and uninviting, but clear enough. He might after all be able to take a turn about in the fresh air. A few more paces however, and he stopped, groaned, and rushed back indoors. Before he had moved two feet forward, he found what he had been dreading : the prints in the muddy slush.
He locked the door, and checked through the windows, one after the other. Now he saw clearly what his mind had forbidden him : a clear set of prints, trailing around the house – nothing to show where they came from, nothing to show where they disappeared to. It was the third day now, and each time, a little closer to the house.
He had tried to fight it off at first, walking down almost as far as the village, when the pattering behind him started. Whirling round, expecting – he knew not what – he had found . . . nothing. And again. And again. He pursued when perhaps he should have retreated, but the pattering had increased, grown louder, closer, close enough for him to hear panting – and each time he turned to face an empty horizon, devoid of life.
He returned to the house very quickly, and stayed within, peering out, listening, listening, then as no more was heard, and time drew a veil, he shrugged his shoulders and decided he had imagined it. Overwork, over study . . .he retired early to bed.
Sleep was however denied him. A restlessness in the early hours prompted him to wander about the room, until looking briefly out of the window, he saw, or thought he saw, a trail of white mist curling its way across the land directly in front of the house.
Intrigued, he watched, as it rolled and heaved past, gathering itself up, hurling itself forward – one could almost imagine there were legs and heads forming from those clouds.
Then the howling began. Far off at first, moving increasingly nearer. At the best of times disturbing – but the incident of the afternoon comes back to him tenfold, and he creeps back to bed there to spend a wakeful night until towards dawn, the howling fades away and he is permitted oblivion.
On waking, he has little or no recollection, it is only on realising he needs supplies form the village that he steps out – and sees the trail of prints around the house.
The pattering begins again as he walks down to the village. He will not be deterred this time . . . he will not be . . . he will not . . .A few minutes later he finds himself back in the entrance hall to the house, trembling, shaking, pressing against the door of this virtual dungeon. Fear holds him fast and will not let him go.
The same again the third day – it is by some fierce combination of necessity, courage and outrage that he makes it as far as the bridge leading to the village.
He does not return that night to the house. The misty wraiths continue their noiseless tread around it, leaving behind yet more paw-prints, this time close up against the walls.
The villagers find him in a state of collapse in the street – muddied, for he has fallen more than once, his clothes torn (by thorns?), there are scratch marks even on his hands and neck – a puzzle, this, as it is clear enough countryside, there are no thickets for him to get caught up in.
He is at first incoherent, and it takes a few brandies to give him speech – on discovering the name of the house he has left, several of the older residents purse their lips. ‘The House of Wolves,’ mutters one of them.
Eventually, a small party of them accompany the visitor back to his ill-chosen winter abode. They find the paw-prints, this time on the inside of the door, leading through the entire house, as if hunting something out . . .
The visitor packs his bags and returns to town, vowing never to visit the countryside again. He still sleeps but fitfully, and cannot abide two things : the sound of dogs and the sight of mist.