A Very Short Horror Story

The Boy Who Loved Spiders

spider web

“Mother,” the boy said, “come see what’s in my room.”

She followed her happy little boy. He led her to his room and pointed out the spider in the corner. It seemed to be watching his bed.

“It’s so pretty,” he said.

From the tip of one spiked leg to the other, it was the size of a dime. Its web was thin strands, barely visible in the afternoon light that filled the boy’s room. She made a mental note to sweep in the corners more often.

“Can I keep him?”

The spider took up residence in a jar that had once held peanut butter. It was just a house spider. What harm could it do? Besides, it was endearing when he told the grown-ups he wanted to be an arachnologists. He always added, “Because spiders are so fascinating.”

The grown-ups, mostly friends from the university, told her how lucky she was to have such a brilliant little child. He was only seven, after all.

The house spider died. The boy wept for him and replaced him with a brown recluse. The boy studied it for hours. The black widow came next. After school, the boy put the jars on the floor and stretched out in front of his spiders, his chin propped up in his hands. He stared and stared, patient, as if waiting – and it was odd.

“Maybe you’d like a real pet?”

“Like a scorpion?”

“No, sweetheart, a nice dog or a kitty.”

“I’d rather have a tarantula,” he said. “You know that some tarantula spiders get so big they can eat birds?”

He’ll grow out of it, she thought, but more spiders came. He captured daddy long legs in the garage and in the basement. He found others outside. Once, he found a plump spider with a lime green body. It had to be tropical and she wondered how it had survived in Colorado? He named it Ivan and kept it in a fish tank.

The collection grew. So did the boy. His changing body magnified his strangeness. His legs and arms remained gangly, inches too long for his body. What few friends he’d made no longer found a room full of captured spiders appealing. They stayed away. The isolation should’ve wounded him, she thought. Wouldn’t a normal boy feel lonely? At least sometimes?

“Mother,” he said one day. “Come see what’s in my room.”

She dreaded what she’d see. But she remembered when he was small and precious and his voice filled her with beautiful thoughts. She followed her son, ignoring his jittery walk and hunched over posture, as she’d trained herself to do. She stepped into his room.

“Oh,” she said.

“Isn’t it beautiful?”

The web was fresh. Its thick strands glistened against the late day sunshine. Funny, she thought, how something could look so strong and so fragile at the same time.

She jumped when he touched her shoulder.

“Don’t worry, mother,” he said. “We never eat the parent…”

lake_lopez_logo_smallThanks for coming by. To read all the #FlashFiction just use the drop down in categories and select #FlashFiction. See you in your nightmares.  LL

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Horror Stories for Adults

“If you write stories of horror you should add some “adult content” to them…”

stepfather_amber_heard_&_penn_badgeleyI get advice like this all the time. Friends tell me this, other writers tell me this, people who read a lot of naughty-type stories tell me this… Then they say something like, “Horror stories are best when flesh is mixed with the blood and gore.” So I’m going to rant about this advice now. It’s a very short rant (pretty much a really long Tweet) but if you prefer to read one of those spooky stories instead just click here:

Anyway, the advice always baffles me. For one, I don’t cram a lot of blood and gore into my stuff in the first place. If bloodletting is appropriate to the story I go for it. But using it as a literary crutch? No way. I won’t do it. It’s a cheap trick that horror writers use to make people think they’re reading something scary. It’s a lot harder, in my opinion, to turn someone’s imagination against them and, when it happens, it’s a lot more fulfilling for the reader. So it’s not like blood is naturally gushing from the sentences I write in the first place.

It’s kind of the same with the adult content. It seems to me that if a couple of characters are going to get it on, well, they’re going to get it on. But I’d never try to force them into it. It needs to happen naturally as part of the story just like it does in real life. If it doesn’t we’re probably writing a whole different kind of story with a totally different kind of intention. What I’m getting at is that stories of horror are not about blood and guts and they’re not about erotic entertainment. They’re about scaring the hell out of you using any number of legitimate writer tricks.

End of rant. Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to visit the store. LL

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Online Short Horror Stories – #FlashFiction

Let there be Wolves

“…Some emergency at work, I don’t know what exactly, just some crisis that I had to get up in the middle of night and drive back to the job to take care of. So when the dream starts out I’m getting dressed – fast. I cram a baseball hat over my head. It’s this black hat I had when I was a little boy, the hat I wore the one summer I got to play little league. That was a great summer vacation… Then I pound down the stairs to the parking lot. It’s Chicago in winter and you know how it is. The cold makes your teeth hurt and everything is quiet. My shoes squeaked against old snow, the sound like that last whimper a hurt animal makes. My car windows were clear so I didn’t have to scrape them, just got in the car and started the engine and that’s when I realized I wasn’t alone in the car.”

I have patients who barely speak. Others, like Thomas, never shut up. He’s 23 and small framed. His bandages are gone and when he waves his arms I can see the black stitches in his wrist, like a long centipede clinging to pale flesh.

“It was a monster,” he said, “sleeping on the backseat. I woke him up when I turned over the engine. Man, he was pissed. I saw the movement in my rear view mirror and -.”

“What kind of monster?”

“It’s embarrassing but I’ll tell you. It was a werewolf. I’m not kidding. I had a fricken werewolf sleeping in the back of my Honda. Ha! So even though I don’t carry a gun anymore, I had one in my glove box. And I reached over to get it and I guess he knew because he climbed over the seat and started grabbing for my arm. I got the glove box open and the gun in my hand, but he got a hold of my wrist and he beat my hand against the glass until it broke and the gun went flying out through the broken window and into the parking lot and then… Then he was on me. He kicked my ass and as he punched me and clawed me I could smell the scent of wild animal, you know, matted fur, earth. And I could smell blood, too.”

We were quiet for a moment. I glanced at my clock. Seven minutes left until this session was over.

“What does it mean?”

“What do you think it means, Thomas?”

“Hey, I’m the one locked up. You tell me.”

They sense me sometimes, I suppose. Something in their subconscious, even though it’s broken, recognizes me.

“Well, you’ve made a lot of progress in a short amount of time. Maybe it’s a warning that you still need to be careful.”

“And that there will still be wolves?”

“Exactly,” I said. Then I kept my mouth closed and poked my tongue around the long fangs that are my incisors, the ones I use when I’m the monster.

“You’re the best, Dr. Forret, seriously.”

I smile back at him. He’s going to be delicious…

 

lake_lopez_logo_smallGlad you stopped by. Please don’t think about this story next time you see your therapist… Remember to subscribe to the newsletter before you go. See you in your nightmares.

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