Tag Archives: fear

2231. Cemetery shortcut

There was someone, or something, watching me. I felt it. That night I shouldn’t have taken a shortcut through the cemetery. It was to change my life.

I had been working late at the law office. I was going to grab some junk food somewhere on the way home (I would go to work on foot and lived alone) but then I remembered some left-over soup in the fridge. Waste not, want not – as my granny used to say. It’s a motto I’ve lived by. So I was hungry and eager to get home. That is why I took the shortcut through the cemetery. I normally wouldn’t do that because to be honest I don’t like cemeteries, let alone at night.

I got goose bumps. The hairs on my arms and back of my neck stood up. I wanted to turn around and look. There was no sound, no footsteps. I was telling myself, “Don’t turn around! Don’t walk faster! Stay calm and quietly walk forward and you’ll soon be out of here.”

And then I heard it. A little sound. Very quiet. Very soft. “Help! Help!”

I stopped. It seemed to be coming from a tall gravestone monument – a pedestal with a marble angel on top. “Help! Help!”

My first thought was to wonder if this was a trap. But what if it wasn’t? What if the child was in genuine need? (I presumed it was a child because the voice was so small). I decided to investigate. It was a child indeed. A little girl. I asked her what was wrong, but she would answer nothing but “Help! Help!”

“Come with me,” I said, and she followed. We went home and I contacted the police. Over the next few weeks messages went out about the little girl. It drew a blank. No one knew a thing, and the little girl spoke but would never say her name or where she came from.

That was fifteen years ago. As the years went by I realized something: it wasn’t the little girl who was watching me. It was someone else.

Tonight we celebrate Sasha’s twenty-first birthday. We made up the age and date and name. I know that Sasha and her boyfriend Sam are going to announce their engagement. She has been the joy of my life.

2031. The open window

(The opening sentence for this story was suggested by Noelle of Sayling Away. If you want to join in the fun of suggesting a future opening sentence for these stories, please leave your suggestion in the comments – only one suggestion per person!)

The sky outside the open window was dark with the portent of a storm. Philomena went over to close it. Several times in the past she had left the window open and a squall had come and blown rain on the furniture. Not much mind you. There was no substantial damage, although she kept a doily on top of the sideboard to hide a small water stain.

The window was on the ground floor. The television news had recently announced the escape of a dangerous murderer from the local prison. “Do not approach”, they had announced. “Things like that never happen to me,” thought Philomena, “but I had better err on the side of caution.”

It would be easy for a lithe man to climb in through the window. She didn’t know if the murderer was fat, thin, or somewhere in the middle. Usually in prison the inmates are fit from spending too much time in the gym with nothing better to do. The television news had not shown a photograph, so she didn’t know if the murderer was handsome, ugly, or somewhere in between. Suddenly a great rumble came from the black cloud. There was going to be a downpour.

Philomena shivered. There seemed more to it than bad weather. She had goose bumps on her arms. She almost felt a presence. “How silly,” she thought. “It must be the combination of a black sky and the news of the murderer.” A blast of lightning forked. She began to count. Thunder came five seconds later so the storm was only five miles away. At least that was the method she had learned as a girl; count the seconds, count the miles.  Another lightning flash! She shut the window tight.

“Rain! Rain! Go away! Come again another day,” chanted Philomena. She turned back into the room. There was an ugly stranger standing behind her.

1767. Chopper tragedy

Hailey had always known that when (not if) her husband fulfilled his lifetime dream of going for a ride in a helicopter it would end in disaster. Maybe the helicopter would hit a tree or power wires. Maybe it would cease suddenly to function and plummet to the ground. Maybe the pilot was on a suicide mission. Whatever the cause, Hailey knew it would end in tragedy.

And, of course, her husband’s lifetime dream was about to come to fruition. He was going for his helicopter ride next Thursday. His grown-up kids had given him a helicopter ride as a 50th birthday present. Poor Hailey. Not only would it end in tragedy, but such a tragedy would ultimately be caused by the children. How could they live with it? How could they forgive themselves for having killed their father?

Thursday came. Hailey refused to drive him to the airport. He could drive himself to his own demise. She had warned him enough. He left home about 9 in the morning. The ride was scheduled for 11. “Dear God,” prayed Hailey, “dear God, made the end quick. Do not let him suffer unnecessarily.” She could not bear the thought of him bleeding slowly to death in an isolated field somewhere between the airport and where ever it was they were going. “Oh God, make it quick”.

Hailey turned the radio on to catch any snippet of tragic news. Each time the radio approached the top of the hour when the news was broadcast, Hailey would turn the radio off. She could not bear to listen.

It was now four hours since the helicopter flight. The excursion was scheduled only for an hour. Hailey was in turmoil. He’s late. He’s late. She would have to face the whole business of the funeral and sorting out the finances. Would she stay in the same house? How would she get to the airport to pick up the car? Where was she meant to go from here?

The doorbell rang. This was it. Hailey did not want to answer. She plucked up courage. She opened the door.

It was her husband. He’d forgotten to take the house keys when he left.

915. Scary stuff

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It was possibly one of the most extraordinary things that could have happened. Bernice was gob-smacked. It wasn’t just that she was flabbergasted by the scene; it was the fact that her husband, Norman, had never been so terrified in his life.

“That’s certainly one to remember,” said Bernice to Norman. “It knocked the bejesus out of me.”

“Me too,” said Norman. “I just about shit my pants.”

To think! It had been an ordinary start to the day. And then… that happened…

“I’m still reeling,” said Norman.

“I know,” said Bernice. “Look at you. You’re still shaking.”

It will certainly go down as one of the more memorable moments in their married life.

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