And you thought you were safe…I have some stragglers that I wanted to mention, because part of the fun of October is finding really good, scary stories to give you nightmares.
You may remember E.A. Black from her work with Mocha Memoirs Press, but she’s been skilled in the scary before. Why not take a look at this excerpt that comes from the 2011 issue of Stupefying Stories?
What happens when children go back home? Usually they have pleasant memories, visit with friends, and do a little walking down memory lane…but what happens if memory lane leads you to unpleasant memories of a house and a swamp and the things that reside there?
Storm clouds roiled in the distance, casting shadows on Strangeman’s Swamp. Wind blew strong and hard, tossing the tree branches that danced a frenzied tango. Gnarled branch arms reached into the afternoon sky, grasping at ravens that steered clear in fear. As the sun hid behind cloud skirts, shadows lurked in the underbrush, off in The Oily. Lara raised the window to let out the stale air and a gush of marsh wind blew into the room, rustling the dirty curtains. Dust billowed around her, making her sneeze.
She leaned against the windowsill and stared out into the dank afternoon, watching Strangeman’s Swamp, as if demons lurked in the bramble far below.
No demons lived in Strangeman’s Swamp, though. No ghosts, either. Only creatures born of rock and wood, sticker bushes, vines choking the life out of trees, mud, water and wild flowering shrubs. Nothing human lived in Strangeman’s Swamp, or The Oily. Whatever lurked there felt nothing for humanity, and only wanted to end mankind’s encroachment in its territory.
Lights flashed in the distance. What were cars doing on the road so close to the swamp? Especially during a thunderstorm?
Then she remembered that no road ran along the swamp’s edge.
Lights blinked on and off like fireflies, but she’d never seen fireflies on Caleb’s Woe. She watched the glowing pinpricks and wondered what they were. Will o’ the wisp? Saint Elmo’s fire? Swamp gas? Phosphorescence?
They migrated from the edges of the swamp to meet in the center, circling each other like ravens fighting over a carcass. They danced and twirled, some only inches above the muddy waters and others high in the trees. They met in the center of the swamp. Once they reached The Oily they stopped moving.
Then they began to creep towards the house.
Lara stood riveted to the window, unable to move. Dread coiled at the base of her spine, whispering to her in a voice harsh with terror. She could only watch the spectacle taking place below, wondering what intelligence moved those lights in en mass like a swarm of angry bees.
The lights floated on the breeze until they disappeared beneath the covered porch. Lara waited until the glow from below crept up the screen. Heart thumping and mouth dry with fear, she froze to her spot, unable to lower the window despite her desperate urge to slam it down. Knowing something horrible was about to happen, eyes wide and unblinking, she stared out the window at the growing glow, waiting. Fetid air hung around her, smelling of low tide and dead fish. The stink clung to her skin, was absorbed into her pores. In disgust, she scratched her arms to scrape it off, but its grip only tightened.
The wizened hand that crept up the screen shriveled in a dirty, tattered sleeve. Fingers crawled along the screen like a gnarled pale spider, seeking entrance. Mesmerized, Lara could only watch as the hand felt along the edges of the window, long ragged nails picking at the wood to break through.
Below the arm was a small body, capped with a head full of matted brown hair. Mud clung to the tresses and caked on the shoulders. The body of the boy gripped the side of the house, clinging like a spider on a wall. Spiders terrified Lara. Those hairy limbs and those eyes…
Intrigued? Want to know more? You can pick up that issue of Stupefying Stories HERE
And if you want to learn more about EA Black, she tends to haunt the following places:
E. A. Black web site: http://eablack-writer.blogspot.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack