Saturday, 13 October 2018

#October Frights Day Four: Spooky Story Time

Today it is time for some spooky stories, for those tales to read with the lights on, all about things that go bump in the night...

Spooky Storytime

Midnight in Purgatory

At the crossroads, beneath the half-moon and the undertone stench of brimstone, the shadows gathered. The breath of a witch's hiss and the cold touch of death spelled the air, while the mocking laughter of the damned echoed in the trees.
A sniffle, a groan, and the shuffle of footsteps down the road swirled past the night as a hunched figure walked along the dirt, circling the crossroads. A long black coat flapped against spindly legs, the collar turned to ward off the chill, and a floppy hat pulled low engulfed his features in silhouette. The sound of his scuffing feet against the dirt made a strange rhythm, a scraping beat pulsing into the black abyss. Round and round he walked, only looking up and slowing to a halt when another figure, a man, strolled down the road.
The new man stopped in the middle of the crossroads, the grin of the devil on his face, smack in the center of the circle traced by the feet of the figure in the long coat. The fresh arrival reached in a pocket and took out a pack of cigarettes and matches. He lit a smoke, shadows and nicotine vapour passing over his face. He licked his lips and spoke.
“My name’s Nick. Time to deal.”
“Such a rush.” The voice of the black-clad figure smacked the night with a hollow tone vibrating halfway between a rasp and a croak and holding a weariness of a dead man’s bones. “Savour the moment. Ain’t nothing like it going to come your way again soon.” A cracking noise that might have been a chuckle sounded, and then, “Besides, it’s been a long time since I seen you. I want a good long look this time.”
Nick’s eyes narrowed and he sneered. The cigarette dropped and he squashed it under his shoe. “I know you, old man? We do a deal before? Because you can’t sell your soul twice, not even to the devil.” Nick laughed.
“Oh, we’ve met. A while back, but I didn’t sell my soul to you.” The figure in black lifted his head, a pale, gaunt face staring at Nick. For a moment it almost seemed his eyes glinted red under his hat. “That would be quite impossible, Nick, seeing you’re a fraud. You ain’t the devil.” A wicked grin lit the man’s face, and, for an instant, his appearance seemed… angelic. 
“I know you, Nick, back when your name was David and you ran two-bit hustles out of a revival tent. Back when you whispered your sins to the moon, and you came to another crossroads begging for a life that was wasting away from too much whiskey and cigarettes.” The man in black looked down at the dirt. “I see you never gave up that habit. Even after the cancer went away.”
“How did you…” Nick took a step back, the sneer and bravado gone and fear creeping across his face. “You've got no proof I did anything criminal.”
That cracking chuckle sounded again. “Of course, you done things criminal. Lined your pockets with other people’s money, lied, cheated, and things far worse to damn your soul. You and I know that. For the longest time, you were my favourite.”
A wisp of air, foul and hot, escaped his lips on the edge of a sigh. “But I can’t forgive this. You give the Devil his due, you don’t steal his thunder.” A smile flickered on his lips as the sky streaked wide with a booming noise and a flash of lightning.
Nick jumped and stumbled back against the edge of the circle etched in the road. A hot burst of fire and burning pain seared through cloth and flesh and Nick screamed. He jerked and fell forward on his face, before rolling onto his back with a whimper. “Who are you?”
The figure in black doffed his hat and gave a little smile. “Now, I’m hurt you don’t remember. Fifteen years ago you sold me your soul for good health and a charmed new life. Name’s Lucifer. And it’s time for me to collect what you owe.”
The crossroads circle erupted in a wall of hellfire, damnation and fresh new screams, followed by a trail of laughter. When the smoke and stink cleared, only charred ash and burns littered the road and the small echo of a man’s lost soul.



The wind coughed dust along a dry parched riverbed, long devoid of water. The swirling gusts scraped and buried my bones, my decayed body losing its battle with the elements and time. The breeze and scattering dirt made the only noise in this curse-drenched corner of the world. All other life had long since fled or lay buried with me. I watched the last gleam of bleached white remains disappear under the unrelenting sand, still tied to the corpse of what I used to be. For now at least. That would change soon.
The earth had finally swallowed my bones and they would be coming.
I heard them out there in the distance. Had for some time. Drifting on the edges of the wind. The dark winged beasts, the curse-bringers, the carrion eaters of the soul. They were the ones that led me here to die. Soon, they would show themselves and my curse will reach its end.
The last of me would disappear into the darkness.

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Debbie Christiana said...

Great job, Anita - two very creepy, disturbing stories. Love them.

A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks, Debbie.

Winnie Jean Howard said...

Love the Lucifer twist. Short short horror is great in my book.

A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks, Wendy. That crossroads story just popped in my head one day.

Popple said...

I loved the Lucifer tale - what a twist. It sounds like Nick got his comeuppance. :) Barbara of the Balloons

A. F. Stewart said...

Thanks, glad you liked it.

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