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Hold Me Tight – S. J. Budd



“We’re so thrilled you’ve agreed to take on Jake, he’s been placed with four different carers in the last three months, but no one seems to want to have him.” Mandy, Jake’s social worker, looked down at her notes, “Such a shame. It’s usually the most challenging children that are the most rewarding.”

Kirsty cleared her throat and took a sip of tea from the chipped mug in her hands, “You said his mother is ill, what’s wrong with her?”

“I can’t say,” Mandy responded very quickly, she gathered her things and seemed eager to leave, “Good bye Jake,” She finished without looking back.

“Thanks again,” Kirsty called out after her.

Kirsty got up from her sofa and asked Jake if he was hungry he shook his head but Kirsty gave him a bar of chocolate which raised a smile. He took it and shyly sat down beside her. She got the remote and put on a kids TV programme, it had been Jessica’s favourite.

“I think we’re going to get on just fine,” Kirsty said. He was a very shy boy with dark hair and dark eyes, hopefully he liked football. It was Gary’s burning passion and Kirsty had brought this little boy into her home not because she wanted to care for him but because she needed glue to keep her fragmented family together, and Jake was just the thing.

Kirsty received a text halfway through cooking dinner, it was Gary saying he would be home late, he was going for a drink with the lads, again. Kirsty sighed and gritted her teeth, these days he was never at home, never around when she needed him the most. No doubt he blamed himself but she forgave him as she did every time he did something wrong. No one’s perfect she lamented, not even Gary.

Jake accepted his meal in silence and ate everything without protest, even the peas. Kirsty smiled he was a doddle to look after, this was going to be easy. Even when he was sent to bed there was none of the usual dramatics she had with Jessica.

“Jessie?” Kirsty whispered in the dark hallway as she waited outside an empty room that had been untouched since that day. She went back downstairs after seeing Jake to bed. There was nothing on the telly but there was a bottle of cheap wine in the cupboard so she took that out instead and sat alone at the kitchen table with one glass.

Kirsty must have been really tired because she woke up the next day still sat at the table, Jake was also sat next to her waiting with angry eyes.

“Jake, oh I didn’t hear you come down,” she quickly hid the empty bottle and glass before he saw and tried to act as if she was feeling on top of the world. He said nothing but glowered at her. “Do you usually have cereal for breakfast?” Kirsty inquired, she received no answer and turned round to see he had gone.

That was how it had started, Jake would not speak to her, would not go near her. Something in him had changed overnight. Kirsty rubbed her neck, it had been playing up again, a painful reminder of the day she had lost everything.

Gary was upstairs in bed snoring off last night’s excesses, she knew better now than to wake him, he had a terrible temper that had become much worse. It was mid- morning, there was nothing good on telly but she did find a half drunk bottle of whisky by the side of the bed. It was Gary’s but if she put the empty bottle back after she was done he’d just think it was him that drank it.

“You two are disgusting, you’re so embarrassing. Why can’t you be like normal parents?” Jake spat, he had been sat behind the sofa unknown to Kirsty.

Those words were all too familiar to her, “Jake, what are you doing behind the sofa?” Her words were beginning to slur and it was hard for her to act right.

Jake looked upstairs but made no move to come out, “Is he coming down too?”

“Gary? No he’s asleep. I didn’t realise that you had met each other. He’s really nice, do you like playing football. Gary loves football, he used to play professionally until he had his accident.” Kirsty stopped suddenly, “But don’t mention that to him, better to pretend you don’t know.”

“I hope you drink yourself to death, both of you.” Jake hissed as he ran outside to the bottom of the garden.

Kirsty hid her face in her hands, there was only one thing she could do to numb the pain and that was to drink a bit more until it went away. It seemed like he knew her already, he hated her already. Was this what he did when he was placed with new foster carers? Was he deliberately trying to push her away? She wasn’t going to give up, not like last time.

“We’re all hurting in this house Jake, but we can help each other. You can help me and I can help you. Does that sound fair?” Kirsty asked as she found him kicking about an old ball.

“You don’t deserve help,” was all he said.

As the day progressed Kirsty’s mind became clearer, this had been a big mistake. Jake was not going to bring the things back that she had so desperately wanted. They were not going to be a family, he was just another broken creature in a house of suffering. She made that call to Mandy who did not hide her disappointment in Kirsty’s decision to stop caring for the boy.

“I’ll come round tomorrow, give you a chance to sleep on it,” She spoke coldly.

“Can’t you come and get him now?” Kirsty pleaded looking out the living room window to the stranger in her garden. The line went dead, Mandy had hung up.

“What have I done?”

Kirsty couldn’t sleep at all that night, Jake had really unnerved her but at least he had put up no fuss when she sent him to bed early. In fact he had welcomed it, he must have been glad to be away from her. Kirsty sighed and rubbed her temples. Was she really so terrible a person?

Gary was down the pub again, he didn’t care for Jake. This had been one very big mistake. She got out of bed but she wasn’t going to drink this time. Her life needed changes she needed to stop it for good.

“I have a problem,” she whispered as she traipsed down the hallway. When she got to Jake’s room she heard a sound and paused. There was another muffled giggle, it sounded like a girls chuckle.

“I told her, I hope you drink yourself to death,” Jake giggled followed by more laughing. Kirsty was shocked that Jake was capable of laughter, he seemed such a sombre child during the day. Now, in the darkness he was unrestrained and free.

“She didn’t say anything back,” there was another pause. “No I didn’t get a smack either.” Kirsty leaned in trying to decide whether she could hear another voice, “I’ll make sure to stay out of his way.” Kirsty thought about going in and turning on the light but there was something that stopped her from doing so. She wanted to know who he was talking to, there was definitely somebody else in there with him.

“Jess, if you’re still feeling sore you can sleep on the bed and I’ll take the floor. I don’t mind.” There was a rustling of bed sheets followed by several soft creaks on the floorboards. “Of course you can sleep in with me, I’ll hold you tight.”

Kirsty took a step back and nearly fell down the stairs in shock. Quickly she went downstairs, luckily there was a can of opened beer that Gary had left on the kitchen table. He’d be mad when he would get in later and see it was gone, but right now, she needed it more than him.

How could he have known her name? Was it possible Mandy had told him? Surely it was a strange thing to tell a child? Was Jake really talking to Jessica? An overwhelming surge of emotion took over her like a rip tide pounding a beaten shore.. She had not allowed herself to feel anything for the last six months and now it, the very thing she’d been trying to drown, had burst through the dams. Was he really talking to Jessica, her Jessica? Her only child who tragically died six months ago. She saw it now, Jake was not the glue needed to hold this family together, but the bridge in which to speak to her daughter. She wanted to go up there now and speak to her, but she didn’t want to blow her chance.

Eventually Jake came down shortly after nine AM, Kirsty had refused any more alcohol after that beer and was completely sober, it hurt like hell but she was ready for it, ready for the suffering of the darkest dawn. Now Jake was here, she’d find a new day to begin again. With Jessica’s help also, she knew she could turn her life around.

“Jake what have I done to upset you? I only want to be your friend.” Kirsty had made him a special fried breakfast, she’d nipped out whilst he had been asleep to buy the ingredients needed.

“You’re mean,” Was all he said as he pushed the plate away.

“Look Jake,” Kirsty said taking hold of his shoulders in her grip, “I need to know. Were you talking to Jessica last night? Is she here? Please I need to talk to her. She’s my daughter.” Jake wriggled away from her with a surprising strength.

“Don’t touch me. I know what you did.”

“What do you mean? Look, can you speak to her or not?” Kirsty asked growing impatient, all she wanted was her little girl back.

“Yes I can, but she doesn’t want to speak to you and neither do I” Jake said retreating further back.

“But why?” Kirsty cried, the struggle to stay sober was getting too much.

“Because you killed her! She hates you.” Jake roared he added in a quieter tone, “She’s told me everything, that you two drove home after a BBQ. You let Gary drive even though you knew he’d had too much to drink. He crashed the car and she died, but instead of giving her justice, you lied and said it was you driving.” Jake threw up his hands in disbelief, “And you still love him, you still let him sleep here, in her home.”

“I don’t have anyone else now,” Kirsty whispered, she tried to get closer to Jake but he retreated further backwards, “Please ask her to speak to me. I’ll do anything.”

Jake shook his head unmoved, “She lives in the darkness now, where you put her. She only whispers in the dark.”

“How can I find a way to speak with her? Please Jake, she’s my daughter. I need her back, I can’t take this anymore.” Finally her resolve gave way and she collapsed in a pitiful heap upon the dirty cracked linoleum floor.

There was a knock on the door and Jake froze. There was a grim look on his face and mournfully he glanced upstairs. “I knew you’d do this,” He said knowing who was on the other side before he’d opened it. He smiled as if remembering a happy memory. “Gary won’t be waking up today.”

“Wait. Jake what are you talking about?” Kirsty fought down the urge to be sick as she raced upstairs.

“Hi Mandy,” Jake said cheerily, “I’ll just get my things.”

About the Author: Originally born in Cornwall, south west England, her childhood was surrounded by myths and legends and she has always been fascinated by anything out of the ordinary. It was in this strange and ancient land where she developed a passion for writing.

She loves writing short stories exploring dark fictional worlds and its mysterious inhabitants, and is currently working on her first novel. Her day job involves working as journalist for and she also blogs on her site

Her work has appeared in Sanitarium Magazine, Siren’s Call Publications, Deadman’s Tome, Innersins , Aphelion, Bewildering Stories, Blood Moon Rising Magazine, Shadows at the Door and Danse Macabre Magazine, The Wild Hunt and Morpheus Tales

Twitter @sjbuddj


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Not Every Thing is Racist

With the growing hysteria off people claiming racism in various media and the rise of the PC culture, let’s take a moment to point out that it is way too easy to “find” racism in just about everything. But that does not mean that perceived racism is real, has merit, or is of purpose. In short, not everything is racist.

Take Go Dog Go, for example, the children’s book has a page that teaches the distinction between black and white. A dishonest SJW would squeeze a “that’s racist” comment for attention. Even worse, the page shows only three black dog. A social studies major would interpret that as a statement of our society, when they have no fucking clue why there is only three dogs. Worse than that, the page shows the black dogs working for a white dog, doing tricks for a white dog, and running away from a cop dog.

Super racist, right? No. Somethings are just what they are and have no meaning or interpretive value whatsoever. Go Dog Go could have a cryptic message about Satanism and the worshiping of the great dark lord, but racism just isn’t there.

Not everything is racist.



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Downward God – S. E. Casey

Douglas woke in the middle of the night to find his wife missing again.  Dinah had taken to doing yoga alone, long sessions at odd times of the day and, most recently, night. 

Sure enough, the door to the in-home studio was closed.  Douglas tried the handle—locked.  He resented the fact that after thirty-five years of marriage she refused to let him join her, the excuse always the same:

These are complex positions.  They take many years to master.   

He should have understood.  Dinah had taught him a few basic moves over the years, but he lacked the patience and discipline for anything advanced.

He took out the duplicate key he secretly had made.  He felt guilty, but nonetheless, he unlocked the door and entered. 

Lit by moonlight, the room was infernally hot.  Dinah taught Bikram yoga classes and had installed a radiant heater.  The soundproofed walls shook with whale calls—low moans with that distinct underwater echo.  However, neither distracted him from the tangle of humanity in the room’s center.

He barely recognized his wife; her contorted frame supported by one foot, an elbow, and three fingers.  Her left knee somehow bent the other way.  Her right arm was obviously popped out of its socket, an alien limb pinned underneath her torso at an odd angle.  However, it looked healthier than her other arm that hinged in two places, another joint added to the forearm.  While she laid chest-down, her neck rotated an impossible full-turn to face the ceiling.  She was tranquil despite the grotesque pose, eyes rolled back to the whites.   

Suffocated by the noise and heat, Douglas swooned on the verge of blacking out.  He realized he hadn’t taken a breath since he entered as if underwater.  Instinctually, he assumed Downward Dog.  Dinah always started him there—the key to all positions.  Head ducked under the arch of the body, he found an air pocket and greedily filled his lungs.

Vision restored, Douglas opened his eyes to a massive stone tower rising from an unknown shore.  Covering the spire in slippery green, seaweed snaked up the ancient edifice like ivy.  Through the nighttime doom, he spied himself in one of the lofty windows.  Douglas’s mind swam, but he realized the window was a mirror.  However, his reflection turned as if someone inside the fortress called to him.  With a lingering look off to the horizon, his image retreated from sight.

Douglas pivoted to follow his double’s pointed gaze.  However, he slipped on the rocks that surrounded him, the slimy seaweed spreading over everything here.  Unable to even shuffle his feet, he twisted hard at the waist to look behind.  In the mirror glass of another tower’s window, he again found his reflection.  His likeness stared to his left before stepping out of sight.

Despite his lack of flexibility, he violently swung an arm to torque himself in the new direction.  His dislocated shoulder burning, he spied another of his reflections.  Again, it pointed to a different site.

Knotting himself over the slimy rocks in a series of excruciating maneuvers, he assumed the same pose as his wife.  Less flexible and practiced, he endured the pain of his torn ligaments and broken bones.

These are complex positions…

Suddenly, he appeared in every window, hundreds of eyes gazing upwards to the moonless heavens.  Positioned facedown, he rotated his neck a full turn to the night sky.  His novice tendons snapped, muscles tore, and a splinter from his shattered spine punctured his jugular.

Bleeding out, he stared into the endless void of the night, that unblinking eye of a Dreaming God.  He despaired that it didn’t look back, smothering him with the lonely madness of indifference.

Author Bio:  Vacated scarecrow poles.  Smoking factories without doors. An hourglass filled with ants.  Clinging to the coast of New England, S.E. Casey writes of the darkly wondrous, strange, and grotesque.  His short stories and poetry have appeared in many magazines and anthologies which can be found at


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ZOMBIE-CON – Martin Richmond

       Darkness plunged the prison cell into a box of stark, uneasy shadows. An external security light switched on, throwing a sickly yellow pattern through the bars and over a group of four prison officers sharing a common silence. It was the youngest of the group who broke the icy stillness with a fearful cry.

“Why us then, hell’s teeth, – WHY – WHY?”

“Keep quiet you fool, they’ll hear you,” hissed Danny Chard, senior officer of the group.

He gripped the young officer’s shoulders and hurled him backwards onto the lower bunk bed. As he fell back his head battered against the metal frame of the upper bunk and he shrieked out in pain.

The officers froze, afraid to even breathe heavily, looking anxiously towards the closed cell door.


They could hear the shuffling gait of the zombie horde dragging their lifeless shells aimlessly along the galleries outside. The hollow groaning of an unnatural hunger filled the remaining, uninfected with a helpless terror.

When the zombie plague erupted within their walls its ferocity took the D hall prison staff completely by surprise, pouncing from one body to the next, like a sickening chain of bloodlust tag. As it tore across the prison hall, Chard was on the second floor landing. While others stood gaping in a state of shock he bundled a few of the officers into the nearest cell. He slammed the door behind him, locking them all in, saving them from being torn apart or becoming a soldier of the living-dead army.  Inside they were met by the strong smell of stale urine hanging in the air, an eye-watering cloud of bitter ammonia, although the stench of the rotting dead lingering outside was far greater.

The young officer, Iain Caine, clutched his head, trying to stem the blood flow from his injury and rolled over the urine soaked mattress to face the wall. It was his first day as a prison officer, a virgin screw witnessing prisoners and staff, bitten, mauled and instantly transformed into hellish creatures. It was a vision that screamed in his brain. Not a first day that he could ever envision or could prepare for, not that any other officer would for that matter.


It was a sight he couldn’t un-see and a waking nightmare he was trying hard to forget, but failing miserably.

“Sorry I was so rough lad,” said Chard, leaning on the bunk bed, “but hey, we’ve survived and we’re damn lucky to be alive.”

Lucky,” snapped Caine, turning back to face him, “you call this lucky? Don’t you see, we’re trapped, they can’t get at us and we can’t get out, doesn’t that say to you that we’re going to die – one bloody way or another?”

Caine rolled back toward the wall and pulled his knees up into a foetal position, hoping he could escape this thing by ignoring it and praying that, maybe, it would just go away by itself?

Chard shook his head and threw his peaked cap onto the top bunk. He turned to the other two officers he had ushered in, Hawkins and Baker, both normally reliable under pressure, but this event could hardly be described as normal. They were seated on the floor beneath the barred window, shell-shocked and silent. Both were in shirt sleeves, heavily stained, but thankfully, not with their own blood.

“Ideas guys?”

They both shrugged, as if ready to surrender themselves to the inevitable.

Chard moved across to the cell door and leaned against it, pressing his ear to the cold wood.

He could hear the scraping sound of a hundred or so inmates and officers, who were now un-dead monsters, staggering around the ground floor and upper galleries. Occasionally one would bump its shambling body against the cell door and he would hold his breath until the thing moved away.

Chard was a big man, of height and girth and his broad shoulders carried the chrome pips of his rank on the epaulettes of a light blue shirt.  Spanning the width of the doorway he dipped his 6ft 2inch height to be level with the spy hole, but the slide was down and blocked any vision of the hell that stalked his prison hall.

It was probably better that he couldn’t see the monstrous, charnel house parade that now outnumbered the living.

He was about to move away from the doorway when he heard a strange sound spiking out amongst the incessant groaning.

It was a musical sound that filtered up, echoing, from the ground floor to their second floor cell.

The television room that had been abandoned when the devil marched in was still playing to itself.

He recognised the strident sounds of an old movie and its rousing musical score and turned to the two seated officers.

“You guys ever seen the movie, ‘ZULU’?”

“Sure,” said Hawkins, the bearded one of the solemn pair. His companion, Baker, nodded, but looked perplexed.

“Boss,” piped up Baker, “if we’re going to kill time with a sodding movie quiz then count me out, I’m not really in the mood.”

“No quiz,” said Chard, moving across and seating himself in a chair beside them, “but you remember when the Zulus were breaking into the hospital area, you remember what the British soldiers did?”

“Shoot ‘em?” said Baker.

“Yeah, sure, but they also dug their way out through the wall into the next room! There’s two cells between us and the corner of the building and then – y’know what’s on the corner?”

“The fire escape!” said Hawkins, excitedly.

“Exactly” he said, standing back; “now how about breaking this chair up, the metal legs will do for digging. There’s only a couple of layers of brick and plaster in these connecting walls so they should be easy to get through.”

Hawkins and Baker leaped up, energised by the promise of escape. They quickly broke the metal legs from its welded frame and began eagerly pummelling the wall. Chard stayed by the door raising a hand to cease their action whenever he heard a movement close by. A blanket was laid across the floor to reduce some of the noise from the falling rubble.                             

Caine began weeping and mumbling into the blanket he’d buried his face into, shutting out the savage world.

They chiselled at the wall, breaking away the thick plaster, one strike swiftly following the other with plaster dust slowly clouding the air. It coated their faces and hair as they worked; producing some brief fits of coughing. The bricks soon fell away and a hole soon appeared and they struck more vigorously, steadily widening with each blow. They eventually stopped when they created a gap wide enough for even Chard’s huge bulk to squeeze through.  

Hawkins eagerly stooped down towards the darkness beyond the jagged porthole and suddenly heard a terrifying growl!

He immediately jerked backwards just as the bloated face of a creature from hell thrust its head into view! Its mouth was torn open from ear to ear, exposing rows of barred, broken teeth like a battle-worn shark’s, dark maw.

It’s wild, blood-shot eyes bulged and swelled, threatening to explode. It snapped and spat, desperate to reach them, hissing and screeching like nothing they’d ever heard before.

They were all frozen in shock horror, until Danny Chard burst forward from the doorway and tore the chair leg from Baker’s fist. He lifted it high above his head and brought it down, spearing the zombie’s skull from temple to ear. The sickening crunch as the metal bar punched through the exposed head was enough to cause each man to recoil in revulsion. Barring the stomach heaving of Caine’s vomiting, the eggshell crack sound punched the cell into a full stop of silence.

As the flaring light in the zombie’s eyes flickered and went out, its head sagged onto the edge of the hole and the group quickly found the remnants of their courage again.

Chard extracted the bar by resting a boot on its face and Hawkins kicked it back into the other cell. After a cautious glance, making sure there were no more lurking dangers, they bundled their way through, dragging the unwilling Caine with them.

They immediately set to work on the next hole breaking through even faster than before, but were far more wary of finding another hungry occupant this time. They exposed the final hole in the last cell through to the fire escape just at the moment when Caine turned!

A sudden, howling savagery gripped him in a whirling frenzy and he leaped at them, shedding tears of blood with a fiery glow staining his bulging eyes.

Chard left him pinned to the wall, pierced through his face, right between the eyes and only paused to look back when they were stood in the safety of the fire escape staircase.

Caine’s un-dead body was still wriggling like a macabre, dancing puppet dangling against the wall.

Chard realised Caine’s blow to the head must have become infected with zombie blood when they dragged him through the hole, another sad casualty of the deadly plague. A gut punch of guilt hit Chard, but he knew that the mindless creature the boy had become could well have been one or all of them, without his actions. When they exited the fire escape into the yard outside, they found flame throwers were sweeping over the building, creating a huge funeral pyre by the Army’s guaranteed cure to the zombie menace.

Chard looked up as the flames took hold, curling around the cell block roof. The jail contained the outbreak but the plague was still out there waiting to return and he wasn’t about to let it back in – not on his watch!



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Interview with S. E. Casey


This Friday, fiction writer S. E. Casey, the author of Last Meal of Adonis, joins Mr. Deadman on the Deadman’s Tome podcast to discuss his inspiration behind his existential fiction, the process behind his prose, and his other projects.

Listen to Deadman’s Tome podcast on Friday at 10pm CST to participate in the chat and to ask you’re own questions.

use this link to catch the episode as soon as it goes live


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The Old House in the Country – Ryan Reid



Jacob Hauser was on his way home after a twenty mile bike ride when he noticed dark clouds building on the horizon. It was a hot, humid July afternoon. Jacob enjoyed summer weather, but he had never cared for humidity. I’m going to get soaked, Jacob thought as he pedaled along the country road.

Bike riding was one of Jacob’s favorite hobbies. He had been working as a middle school science teacher for a year and didn’t have as much free time as he used to for exercise. During college he had put great emphasis on working out. Those days had been more carefree.

The dark clouds continued to spread across the sky as Jacob heard a distant rumble of thunder. Jacob couldn’t recall seeing any houses along the stretch of the road he was on; he was out in the middle of nowhere. Jacob pedaled as fast as he could, but he knew he would never make it home before the rain began; there were still about nine miles to go. Jacob was wearing a gray T-shirt and khaki shorts, so he wasn’t dressed for a storm.

A flash of lightning cut across the sky as it darkened. Jacob had been terrified of thunderstorms when he was a child. He remembered being unable to fall asleep at night as lightning lit up his bedroom and thunder shook his house. Thunderstorms had always seemed like the perfect backdrop for monsters to come crawling out from the closet and under the bed. As an adult, Jacob was no longer scared of thunderstorms, though they still created a sense of anxiety in him.

The wind began to pick up and shake the leaves of nearby trees as Jacob smelled the ozone scent of rain. I need to find some kind of shelter soon, Jacob thought.

The wind tore at Jacob’s face as he continued to pedal. His leg muscles were aching from the long bike ride. The first drops of rain began to fall when Jacob saw it: an old, dilapidated house. He remembered passing the house on his bike rides in the past. He had never thought much about the house, until now. The house was two stories and had rotting clapboard siding. The siding had once been painted white, but years of neglect had resulted in an ugly gray. Most of the windows were boarded up. The house’s weed-choked yard surrounded it like a moat. The building looked like it had been abandoned for a decade or longer.

Jacob hopped off his bike and ran with it to the front door of the house. He just made it onto the crumbling front porch when the rain began to pour down. The front door was boarded up, but there was a broken window next to it. A board covered the upper part of the window, but there was enough room to get in. Jacob leaned his bike against a wall and climbed through the window into the house.

Looking around, Jacob noticed he was in a foyer. There was a staircase leading up to the second floor against the right wall. The white plaster walls were cracked and peeling. Fragments of plaster covered the floor. The air smelled musty and stale. Jacob peered outside through the window he had come in through. The rain and thunderstorm showed no signs of stopping. Well, I might as well take a look around, Jacob thought as he watched the rainfall. I don’t think I’m going anywhere for the time being.

Jacob wandered through an open doorway into a kitchen. The room’s furnishings were simple: a wood table, several chairs, cabinets, a stove, a sink, and an old refrigerator. Some of the cabinet doors had fallen off. Pieces of broken ceramic plates littered the floor. The table was covered with mouse droppings. Jacob spotted a foot-long snake skin on the ground next to the table. That’s lovely, Jacob thought as he kicked at the snake skin with his right foot.

Jacob opened a door leading into what seemed to be a cellar. There weren’t any windows in the room, and the only light came from the open doorway. Jacob could hear the sounds of animals skittering around below, probably mice. Jacob could see the top of a staircase descending into the darkness, but he didn’t feel like going down there. Jacob shut the cellar door and returned to the foyer.   

Jacob climbed the staircase to the second floor. Every step he took on the stairs created a loud creak that shattered the dead silence of the house. Jacob thought it was odd how there weren’t any signs of recent human habitation of the house. He figured he would’ve come across empty food wrappers or beer cans left behind by a vagrant using the building as a shelter.

Jacob reached the top of the staircase and entered a room to his right. The room was devoid of furniture. There were two windows in one wall. Dim light from outside filtered in through the spaces between the boards covering the windows. Jacob could hear the rain pounding on the roof of the house. Jacob walked over to one of the windows and looked outside. The wind continued to whip the nearby trees, and rain pounded down. Jacob saw a flash of lightning. That’s when Jacob heard something strange. It sounded like people whispering. The noise seemed to be coming from behind a door in the room.  

Jacob went to the door and put his ear next to it, trying to hear what was being said. It definitely sounded like two or three people whispering. Jacob couldn’t tell what they were saying. Jacob put a hand on the doorknob and turned it. He flung the door open and looked in. As soon as Jacob had opened the door, the whispering had stopped. The room was a closet. There was nothing inside it. A horrible odor that smelled like a dead animal emanated from the closet. Jacob wasn’t sure what was creating the stench, but it was awful. That’s weird, Jacob thought as he shut the closet door.

Jacob left the room and walked to the top of the staircase. He heard a strange, raspy breathing sound coming from behind him. Jacob turned around to look behind him. There was nobody there, and the breathing had stopped. Jacob turned around and put his hand on the staircase banister. As Jacob was about to step onto the top stair, something shoved him from behind. Jacob grabbed for the banister as he began to fall. He was angled towards the right and barely managed to catch hold of the banister before he would’ve fallen down the staircase. “What the hell was that?” Jacob shouted as he gripped the banister.

I could’ve gotten killed, Jacob thought as he stared at the bottom of the staircase. I need to get out of here.

Jacob ran down the stairs and headed for the window he had come in through. The strange whispering started again. It seemed like it was surrounding Jacob. He couldn’t see any people; the sound seemed to come from thin air. Jacob began to climb through the window when his shirt snagged on a nail sticking out of a board. Come on, Jacob thought as he struggled to free his shirt from the nail.

The whispering was coming from right behind Jacob. He didn’t have much time left. With one final struggle, the nail tore through Jacob’s shirt, and he was free. Jacob grabbed his bike and ran for the country road. It was still raining, but the thunderstorm had ended. Jacob was soaked in seconds from the deluge. As soon as he reached the asphalt, Jacob jumped on his bike and began pedaling as fast as he could. Jacob had a feeling he was going to set a new record on his ride home.


The End


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Deadman’s Tome is a growing horror zine that publishes horror short stories and horror flash fiction. The online magazine publishes dark and gritty content from professional horror writers, Bram Stoker award nominated horror authors, along with talented newcomers of the horror writing craft. Deadman’s Tome features chilling, terrifying horror shorts ranging from ghost stories, zombie invasions, bigfoot sightings, monster horror, and even horror erotica. Deadman’s Tome is one of the best online horror zines to publish horror short stories, horror flash fiction, and dark flash fiction. The darker the tale the better. If you enjoyed the story, or even if you didn’t, leave a comment below as it helps the horror authors.

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Month of Horror Week 2 Winner Announced!

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or on Spreaker

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Church of Satan After School Program Upsets Some People!


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Mr. Deadman explores the real horror that is in our news and culture. This episode looks at the Church of Satan after school program, assault at a Haunted House, and someone claims to have been a victim of satanic ritual abuse at a Mormon church that practices ritual murderous sacrifices.

You can also listen to the episode through iTunes or on Spreaker