Midnight Fear: A Flash Fiction Spooky Story

Hey everyone!

I’m back from vacation (did ya miss me? :P) and I’ll be doing some NaNo-ish posts soon (eek!) but today I’m doing something… different. XD

Jenelle Schmidt has a Spooky Story Challenge again this year (check it out!), flash-fiction edition, aaand I decided to join in.

I’ve been kind of enjoying writing flash fiction — works one thousand words long or less — lately (like We Otter Do It and Mentor Problems). Only problem is, spooky/scary stories are NOT my thing at all. XD

But I did have a flash-fiction piece around that I wrote a few years back and recently rewrote, based on a nightmare I had. I kind of wrote it as “therapy” and after I got it down “on paper,” it didn’t scare me anymore — but I wasn’t really planning on posting it lest it scare other people! 😉

So be warned, if that’s not your thing.

But I decided to share it anyway.

Enjoy!

Midnight Fear

by

Deborah O’Carroll

Night shrouds the world. Black as ink, the dark sky hangs overhead—the roof of a giant safe or vault, locking me into this world of nightmare. A car screeches somewhere. The city block stretches before me, with but a few yellow street-lamps to shine small patches of imagined safety onto the pavement—bits of light, small, pitiful, feebly trying to push back the night.

The wind is on the move. It drives grey rags of clouds across icy stars, slips cold fingers of air down my collar, shrieks relentlessly through the branches of a tree I walk beneath. The twigs chatter together like teeth. I shiver and hasten my pace, casting glances this way and that. I should have been home long ago.

Someone runs up the road—whisks past, a shadow under a street-lamp. He calls back from behind me in a hoarse whisper: “It’s coming!”

I don’t need to ask what “it” is.

I break into a panicked run, clutching my skirt, my shoes pounding a war-drum’s call, my heart a fluttering bird trapped between metal bars. The street stretches on forever. I must reach home before it finds me.

My house appears in the darkness. Relief floods me. But as I near my yard, I freeze. Terror grips me in an iron vice. At the crossroads where my street meets the next, a shadow moves.

Round the corner with slow deliberation pads the embodiment of midnight fear.

The black panther.

It’s twice as big as I had heard. It stops in the midst of the crossroads, shadowy head swinging slowly as if deciding which street to take. Not my street. Not— Motionless save for the twitch of its tail, its gleaming eyes full of quiet malice fix on me.

I stand transfixed as we stare at each other for a short eternity. Then, with slow, measured steps, it pads up the street toward me. Panic breaks me free of my terror-induced paralysis. I tear across the road, stumble up my sidewalk and front steps to my house. Safety lies in wait for me behind the door. I claw frantically in my pocket for the key. Not there. It has to be there—

The key is gone. I can’t get in.

Nowhere to hide. I must find somewhere . . . I dart a glance over my shoulder. The beast still pads slowly up the street. I run across the porch, down the steps, and heave myself over the side of the bed of the pickup truck. I hunker down low with my head down, breath coming in ragged gasps, heart running a marathon. Perhaps the panther will pass by, continue down the street . . . Perhaps it will not find me.

All is quiet. I wait forever. Silence. I dare a quick glimpse over the side of the pickup bed. My heart trips and falls and skips a beat.

I had heard no sound. Yet the panther pads toward me across my grassy lawn, as silent and graceful as any of its smaller kin. In horrified fascination I watch its dark bulk make its slow, sinister way toward me, a deeper black beneath the tree shadows cast by the moon. Instead of leaping, the creature circles the truck. A long wooden plank forms a ramp from the ground up to the tailgate of the pickup’s bed. A path straight to me. The panther sets a fore-paw on the plank and begins its slow relentless ascent, fixing near-hypnotic eyes on me.

I seize the end of the ramp with frantic prying fingers, trying to flip it over. It doesn’t budge. The panther takes another step.

I scrabble desperately about in the dark in the back of the pickup. My hand touches an object. A hammer. I fling it with all my strength.

It strikes the beast between its gold street-lamp eyes.

I hold my breath. The panther pauses, shakes its head once, then comes on. Its teeth glitter under the moon. Its paws tread softly pad-pad-pad up the plank.

In a final surge of mind-numbing panic, I grab the next object my hand finds—a large heavy mallet—and fling that too. Then another—a length of pipe—and another and another, I know not what, flinging them in quick succession. I shut my eyes against the terror and only hope one of them will make it stop coming. Just make it stop coming toward me. I am out of things to throw. Dark despair seizes me, but no claws. I open my eyes.

The panther still stands on the plank. It does not move. Then it sways.

And

The shape of terror hits the ground with a thud. It lies still.

Relief tears a gasp from my lungs as I remember to breathe again. I collapse in the bed of the pickup truck.

***

Time follows in a blur. They come at last to find the beast, and find it dead. I climb shakily down into my lawn. People surround me, despite the midnight hour, praising me and my non-existent bravery for the death of the terror. Voices roll around me, talking of taking me to dinner, of celebration. I don’t listen to them. I can only stand beneath the trees, swaying like their branches, staring down at the panther. It lies on the grass, a sleek pile of black fur, motionless. Dead. But without losing its menace.

Unthinking dread still fills me, and I can’t look away, despite knowing that it’s dead from the heavy metal things I had thrown at it. I wish I’d thrown heavier ones.

I keep staring, half expecting the panther to move.

It does.

Advertisements

throw your dream into space like a kite

A brief note:

I was interviewed today by Heidi Peterson of Along the Brandywine on her lovely blog for writers, Sharing the Journey! It was so much fun and has some great questions, so be sure to drop by and give it a read! 🙂

On to the post as usual…

IMG_4616

It was an ordinary January morning. I had a cold. Life was half hazy, half bleak, half asleep, and three-quarters I-can’t-even-brain-today-thanks. (I also apparently cannot math when I have colds.) Then suddenly, it was a not-ordinary January morning.

A semi-anonymous (I’m fairly 1000% sure who it was from despite the lack of name anywhere) grey envelope arrived in the mail for me.

I don’t get mail very often. (A.k.a, getting snail mail is an occasion discovered once in a blue moon when the dragons wake up to turn over in their sleep, and is an occasion for shrieking and beaming like an insane person.)

All this mysterious grey envelope with nothing on it but my name and address and a cantaloupes stamp contained was a small piece of notepaper with a quote on it.

dreamThis was like the final straw.

All through the month of January, it seemed that everything I read or saw or heard was saying the same thing:

Dream. Follow that dream. Do not ignore it. Our Dreams and our talents are given to us for a reason, and often coincide . . . which is not a coincidence.

So many things were telling me this, in so many different but similar ways. Entirely unrelated books, articles, even signs at my favorite cupcake shop… even the little picture I have on my wall which was my grandpa’s and looks at me every day but I’d ceased to notice. And then this random quote in the mail, which is about as un-ordinary as you can get. All telling me something I keep trying to ignore, but finally had to listen to.

Dream.

Follow your dream.

IMG_4619

For a long time now I’ve said that I don’t have a dream. I’ve even worried that that means there’s something wrong with me, because everyone else has dreams, so I must be odd. I sometimes feel like I’m just a fixed point in the world, not moving forward, not striving toward anything, just standing there lost as all the traffic of other people flash onward to either side of me, each hurrying toward their own goals and dreams. I don’t have one. Or that’s what I tell myself.

The truth is, I do have a dream. Or dreams. I just have decided that they will never happen, that there are too many roadblocks in the way, that they’re impossible. So I pretend I don’t actually have them. Because what use are they? They will never amount to anything and it’s selfish to even imagine them, let alone imagine them coming true, or, horror of horrors, actually working toward trying to help them come true. No. Because obviously, if I enjoy something, like writing, if I have a talent for it, then obviously it can’t be what I’m supposed to do because I have to find some job that I don’t like… because writing is just my hobby and I should never take it seriously, and I should push my dreams, whatever they are, deep down and never let them see the light of day, because they’re impossible.

These are all lies I’ve been telling myself. I bet many other people are too.

But it’s not true.

We DO have dreams, and talents, for a reason.

If they’ve been given to us, we should let them see the light of day, and perhaps even let them shine or reflect some light of their own.

It would be a dark world, indeed, without them.

Perhaps they won’t turn out as we hope or expect them to, but surely something good must come of it, even if in an entirely unexpected way.

(Unless, of course, your dream is something dreadful like blowing up Jupiter, turning all adorable tiny little chubby birds into ugly spiky grey rocks, organizing fiction by the Dewey Decimal system [okay, if you actually do this, I will not judge, but Jackaby and I aren’t sure about it…], or outlawing chocolate/writing/libraries, in which case I can’t help you and please disregard this entire post.)

And when the doubts creep in? (Because they surely will, the tricksy things…) I’m reminded of some song lyrics, of a song which I listened to many times while I was struggling with doubts about my writing in November and December:

“Too young, too old
Too shy, too bold
Too average
To make a difference.

The world’s too big, and you’re too small
If you try to fly, you’re gonna fall,”
They’re shouting.

But we won’t listen . . .

— From Limitless by Colton Dixon

I listen to those words and realize I’m constantly saying them to myself… all except the last part. But I shouldn’t. They’re not true. Nothing is impossible.

So on this Leap Day — when we get an extra day (not really, but it’s symbolic anyhow) — I thought I would say: Leap! Let’s take that extra time and do something with it — which is not really extra because tomorrow never comes but we always have today. The time we have is now, and now is the time we have. Let’s use it.

Today and everyday should be for leaping . . . To take a leap of faith — to dream, and to follow that dream into tomorrow . . . and every tomorrow to come.

ToDream

A Tale of Two Doctors

For the record, I haven’t seen the episode where Ten and Eleven are both there at the same time. But I did have this dream and write it down before that episode came out. They totally stole the idea from my dream. *nods seriously* (I want to see it so bad… Eventually. No, I still haven’t seen Eleven yet. I’ve only seen two and a half-ish seasons. I’m very behind. What can I say. Time. I need more time. Timey-wimey.)


A Tale of Two Doctors
(A Doctor Who Dream-Turned-Fanfiction)
by
Deborah O’Carroll

dw10The Tenth Doctor and the Eleventh Doctor are both around at the same time, and are waiting around in a dentist’s office, arguing. Because if you put two different versions of the Doctor together at the same time, they’re of course going to argue.

They’re arguing about dogs. Specifically whether, if you cross a breed of dog that’s big, fluffy, and intelligent, with a breed that’s small, short-haired and stupid, do you get dogs of a medium size, normal-length hair and average intelligence? They both take different views on the subject and are going at it with spirit.

I stand off to the side, listening to them and being quite amused, and there’s also the dentist and various people off to the other side. For some reason the office looks suspiciously like a store-room, full of lots of big boxes and crates, two of which Ten and Eleven are sitting on while they argue. It’s quite fantastically marvelous to watch.

All of a sudden there is a loud disturbance.

Bang! Crash! Bang!

A banging on the door, as of someone trying to get in. Going by past dreams, I know it could be something really creepy, so I at once start looking around to see if there’s a place to hide.

This is the smart thing to do.

I detect a closet and deem it a good discovery, and turn to watch what’s going on.

The two Doctors are still bickering, but someone else—alas!—quite foolishly opens the door.

dalekImmediately, a Dalek rolls in, buzzing its battle-cry.

“Exterminate! Exterminate!”

And starts blasting people all over the place.

Zap! Zap!

Ten and Eleven both jump up and start making the expected cries of alarm to the effect of “No!” and “It can’t be!” and “Daleks don’t exist anymore!”

I suggest, “Apparently they do, given that one is about to exterminate you. Hide?”

“Good plan!”

As the only bystander to survive, I show them the closet I’d found. Ten bravely and/or foolishly distracts the Dalek:

“Look! This is how you shave an eyebrow off with a sonic screwdriver!” He demonstrates on himself with an electronic humming buzz and a flash of blue light.

Eleven meanwhile pulls out the blaster weapony thing Jack Harkness had and blasts at the closet door with another flash of blue light, to see if it’s blastable, which it isn’t.

“It’s safe!” he decides.

Thus cheered, I evict a bunch of boxes and closet stuff from inside so there will be more space. The closet has lots of stuff, including, inexplicably, a small and completely adorable-looking otter curled up in a corner, who gets up and patters swiftly off past me while I stare in a sort of melted-by-adorableness-astonishment. Then, shaking free from my daydream, I hastily return to the task at hand.

dw11With the closet cleared, Eleven and I jump in and call for Ten to hurry. The Dalek goes back into action and Ten yelps and dodges, narrowly missing an exterminator blast. (Those Daleks should really go into the pest-control business…)

Ten scuttles toward the closet, yelling, “I hope my eyebrow grows back soon!” He zips inside with us. “It was far too nice of an eyebrow to waste!”

We slam the door and bolt it shut, and watch through the suddenly-transparent closet door as the Dalek scrolls up toward us. It starts talking to the Doctors, trying to intimidate them, or else to annoy them to death—or knock their ears off with its annoying buzzing voice.

They yell back at it: “You can’t get in! So—Neeaaah!”

The Dalek tries to blast the door. But . . . it. doesn’t. work. We actually got away! Since when does that ever happen in a dream? The scary “it” of the dream always gets you!

But not when it’s Ten and Eleven and me—No.

We are just too fantastic to be exterminated.

The End

(Don’t take all the credit, Ten. We were ALL brilliant!)

(Sorry for all the extra Ten pics. I haven’t met Eleven yet so I can’t love him yet. …Actually, I’m not sorry at all.)

Splintered: A Thor/Loki Fanfic

(Notes:

This, like my Hawkeye fanfiction, was a dream I had and then wrote down. If it’s weird, that’s why…

I wrote this back when I had only seen “The Avengers” and hadn’t yet seen either of the Thor movies… so I didn’t know Thor used to grin in Thor 1, and hadn’t seen Loki’s hair like it was in the dungeon scene in Thor 2.

These characters don’t belong to me, obviously, but to Marvel.

Pictures from Pinterest.

This is just for fun.

Hope you enjoy.)

“Splintered”
A Thor and Loki Fanfiction

by
Deborah O’Carroll

Starring
an Old House
a Random Girl (that’s me)
and
Thor and Loki from the Marvel Movies


974dd788523f19b1affc1d42aeccf977I walked gingerly along the half-finished floor of a room in the big old wooden house that was under repair, trying to find safe footholds on the rickety boards that I feared might snap under my weight. Whoever was fixing this place wasn’t doing a very good job.

But hopefully Thor, who was following my lead, would catch me if I fell. Come to think of it, why wasn’t the so-called floor merely falling apart beneath his weight? He probably weighed a ton.

I swiveled to see how he was faring in our crossing of the room.

Thor was walking easily, his fair hair and silvery armor dulled in the faint light, his dark clothes blending with the shadows, and his red cloak swaying after him as he strode along, finding the solid beams beneath the floorboards.

As he went, he glanced down and absently poked at a board with his boot. The piece of wood snapped and fell away. He kicked another and it met the same fate.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

He glanced at me. In his serious and strong-jawed face, dusted with golden stubble, there suddenly flashed what if I hadn’t known better I would have thought was a gleam of malicious intent. It looked more like an expression his brother Loki–who was in the back yard and who we were on our way to find–might make, than anything that would cross the face of Thor under normal circumstances.

(That’s as close to devious as I could find. Thor just doesn’t make devious faces, y’all…)

Saying nothing, he leaned over and started deliberately breaking the floorboards with his hands, in a way that jeopardized my currently safe footing.

“No,” I said, as I stepped hastily backward, and then “nonononono!” in one long word with five short syllables as the boards under me caved in partly so that I fell backward and slid halfway between them. I ended up lying on my back at the bottom of the slanting wood; if I moved the wrong way, I would slide down under the house.

Thor kept coming toward me, leaping lightly from beam to beam, tearing up boards. With his hammer, he could probably have demolished the entire house in three seconds flat, but fortunately he did not have it with him. Apparently he was in a mood for leisurely destruction.

Something was clearly wrong with him.

With some little difficulty, I scrambled out of my precarious position and streaked across the room as quickly as the treacherous floor would allow. I dashed out a side door and I found myself outside on a sort of balcony-porch—only half-finished like most of the house—that was several feet above the ground and didn’t have any steps yet.

I turned toward the back-yard and made a call for help to the only person for miles who might be able to do something.

“Loki!” I yelled.

A short silence followed. I could still hear Thor shattering the floor inside. Then the thin smooth face, sharp nose, and long sleek black hair (spiky in the back) of Loki appeared just above the side of the balcony’s floor, where he had apparently climbed up.

“What,” he said, more in annoyance than inquiry, as he pulled himself higher.

“Help,” I squeaked, barely suppressing an exclamation mark, in a sort of sheepish but panicked plea. Loki was the last person I could imagine going to for help.

Apparently he thought the same thing. His face held a blank and incredulous look as he tilted his head slightly to one side and blinked his shifty eyes at me as though trying to grasp the idea.

Louder crashing ensued from inside.

“Thor’s breaking things!” I wailed.

“Ah.” The questioning look cleared and Loki vaulted himself over the edge of the balcony up to where I stood, his green cloak swishing, and went inside through the doorway I had left by.

Careful to stay away from the area I had been in before, I hurried inside the house another way to find the people who lived in the more completed rooms. I paused in a doorway, unable to go further due to a rift in the floor, and found them in a hurried state, trying to leave. With good reason. Thor’s previous noises paled to nothing in comparison to the catastrophic smashing that now came from the far end of the house, the tell-tale signs of a fight between Thor and Loki.

“Girls!” the mother called. She was a tall thin woman in grey, with wispy blond hair pulled up into a bun on the back of her head.

Her three daughters scampered from the other room where they had apparently been grabbing coats, and began following her out, along with their two dogs who were barking frenziedly at the sounds of the battle.

(In the dream, the mom was Mrs. Everdeen from Hunger Games)

(And two of the girls were Bard’s daughters from The Hobbit movies)

In her haste, the oldest daughter, dark-haired and wearing blue, dropped a pail she was carrying, and it slid down a sloping board.

“Bucket, bucket,” she said, running after it to fetch it back, while the mother called for her to leave it and hurry, herding the two younger girls with blond curls out the door. But the older girl retrieved it quickly and all four of them quickly exited the house, the two dogs following half-heartedly as though torn between going with them and staying to bark at the strangers who were breaking the house.

As I was about to go back out the way I had come, the floor suddenly gave way beneath me—chain reaction from the next room, I supposed—and for the next several minutes I was engaged in trying to clamber my way out from a tangle of broken wood. During that time, things got oddly quiet except for the one dog, who had stayed and was still barking.

I couldn’t find any sort of proper footing on what used to be the first floor, so I clambered up more wreckage to a sort of attic area. It was dark up there, and piled with stuff, but I managed to find a place to stand at the edge of the gaping hole that used to be the ceiling of what had once been the room Thor and Loki had been fighting in.

The dog barked still, and I heard the oldest girl, who must have come back for it, telling the dog, “Be quiet—you’ll wake him!” The dog quieted and apparently left with the girl, for there was silence.

Wake him? I scanned the dark attic anxiously, the words “Waken a sleeping giant . . .” running through my head. It was hard to see in the dark, but I gradually made out a mattress by one wall with a pile of blankets tumbled on top. They shifted, and a pair of boots stuck out at one end suddenly. The person under the blankets moved again and the coverings fell away, showing Thor curled up under his scarlet cloak, apparently napping after his fight.

Not wanting to wake him in case he still had any smashing feelings left, and wondering where Loki was, I tried to tiptoe quietly away.

Despite my efforts, the floor creaked. Thor stirred, flicked his cloak to one side and sat up, stretching his arms over his head. Then he glanced over at me. His mane of blond hair was all pushed back instead of falling to both sides of his face as usual, and he smiled.

“Greetings,” he said in his deep rumble of a voice.

“I’ll just be leaving,” I said.

“What, no kiss to commemorate my victory?” he jested, grinning again. A big grin on him was so weird . . . He stretched again and the movement caused the floorboards to quake a little.

I felt my portion of the floor begin to teeter—I was about to fall.

“Eheh,” I said, grinning skittishly at Thor as I tried to regain my balance and not panic and plummet to my death. “Loki!” I hissed urgently in a furious whisper in the general direction of where the shattered room used to be. Where was he?

Thor looked in that direction as though he saw something.

Loki!” I yelled again.

Loki’s head and shoulders appeared, poking up above the edge of the hole in the floor, his black hair no longer sleeked back and instead hanging forward over his ears from the fight. It struck me that I had never seen his hair like that before.

Thor and Loki faced each other, opposites—Thor with his fair hair pushed back, and grinning, Loki with his dark hair hanging down, and serious-looking. They both looked so different than they usually did, just with their changes of expression and what their hair was doing.

“I win,” Thor said in his deep voice, still smirking.

“You usually do,” Loki’s more flute-like voice said. I blinked. That was an uncharacteristically truthful and non-competitive thing for him to say . . . He turned to me, casting a brief look at his brother and saying with mock-weariness, “Let us be going before he knocks down the entire building.”

He lent me some balance with his arm so I could get off the unsafe part of the floor, and we exited through a far-window, leaving a still-grinning Thor watching us leave, reclining in comfort on a mound of pillows. We climbed back down onto the unfinished balcony. As soon as we were standing there safely, I turned and stared at Loki.

“What is going on?” I said.

“We have to go and find out why he’s being so petty and violent and foolish—it’s out of his character,” Loki said, looking thoughtful.

Thor is acting out of character? I thought. Then what about you? Normally Loki would have enjoyed calling his brother those things, and grinned the whole time.

(“Wait… what?”)

“And we have to find out why you’re acting so serious and noble,” I said as a test.

I expected Loki to blink and suddenly realize he’d been acting like his brother, and shake his head and say, “Oh, is that what I’ve been doing. It’s a repulsive feeling.” Then he would suddenly flash his brilliant grin with all his white teeth and sleek his black hair back, saying, “You know what? You go on ahead. I’m staying right here.” And then he would leap back inside, from where further fighting noises would shortly ensue.

Instead he paused, tilting his head and raising an eyebrow. “And that,” he agreed. Then he blinked and shook his head slightly as if thinking that’s not right, and half remembering . . . but he couldn’t seem to grasp it. He blinked again and shrugged.

“Loki,” I said, almost saying ‘Thor’. “I think someone switched out your personalities with each other.”

“I think you’re right,” Loki said. “Come, we must solve this.”

He strode toward the end of the balcony and I followed him.

Meeting Hawkeye: Fanfiction Dream

Here’s something about me: I never write fanfiction.

…Except when I have such awesome and vivid dreams about some fandom that I just have to write it down. (Like a Thor and Loki short story I wrote once and might post sometime…)

So.

Last night, I had an awesome Avengers dream.

There was lots of stuff with Captain America doing things first, but that’s not important and I don’t remember it very well. But he and Black Widow were on their way somewhere to do some rescuing things, and there was this big scary creature person fighting them on the way. There was something about the creature looking sort of like a crocodile and Captain America knocked it out by punching it in the face, which is where we come in.

The characters belong to Marvel, etc. etc., and this is just for fun and random. Pictures are from Pinterest.

Meeting Hawkeye – Deborah O’Carroll

a28d41b45531eac158f8e9fbbc388778“Croc eye,” Captain America muttered as he finished knocking it out; it stilled on the concrete, eyes closing. “Ooh, that’s funny,” he added as he walked on.

Black Widow continued striding after him. “Why?” she asked as we went through a shadowy building.

“Croc eye, Hawkeye,” Captain America explained, rhyming and smirking at it.

“Yeah, really funny,” said a shadow from high up.

I looked, and felt a little leap of exhilaration. It was him!

Hawkeye jumped down from where he had been perched with his bow, and joined us in striding quickly onward through the darkness of the busy concrete building.

Ooh! He’s in this one! I thought with a thrill of ecstatic excitement. As if it was an Avengers movie.

There was a sort of high-pitched keening scream/squeal coming from somewhere, and it took me a moment to realize that “somewhere” was from me. I flailed my arms. “Fangirling!” I said, apparently to explain to any bystanders what was going on as I happily traveled along after the three.

H7Hawkeye gave me a look, no doubt due to my squealing.

I suddenly realized, walking along right next to him as he looked at me: Wait; I’m in it too.

My next thought was: I’m never going to get another chance like this.

So I seized the moment—and Hawkeye’s head—and kissed the side of his forehead.

He paused to disentangle himself. “Augh! Really?” he asked.

“Sorry,” I said; not sorry at all, with a Rapunzel-from-Tangled-ish feeling as I smiled and felt extremely happy. “You’re just really awesome and I really like you.”

“Can I take off now?” Hawkeye called ahead to Captain America and Black Widow, implying that he didn’t want to work today.

“Nope,” and “There’s people to rescue,” they answered, not looking back.

“Figures,” Hawkeye muttered, glancing at me.

***

At which point I woke up from the sheer awesomeness. (Or possibly from my cat yowling.)

But it. was. fabulous.

50ce6f747742d9e19cadd33ef7ca10fd