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Barely, a sip. The spiced, golden liquid was a smoked earthy flavor. It stung her throat and the fiery warmth spread from her neck, burning its way through her chest. Faye shuddered and shook her head, dropping the bottle in a dank corner. Hopefully, that keeps him away.

Faye smacked her head, shouting to herself, “No! There's nothing to keep away!” She stripped and changed into her soft white nightgown, turned her desk light off, and buried herself in the cool sheets. Knowing she had something calmed her a little, but she craved the cloudy feeling marijuana brought her. After some twists and turns, she sighed with relief and let her mind drift in the darkness.

The cracked concrete road felt warm beneath her bare feet and the sun lay low. The sky was a murky orange, oddly devoid of light. Dry, lifeless trees clung to the side of the road, their roots breaking through the concrete and their crooked branches hanging over her head like thin skeleton fingers. She brushed her hair back and walked faster.

Thin plumes of dust blew around her, yet everything was silent. Faye rubbed her hand up and down her arm, brushing over the goosebumps. A wonky wooden post lay ahead in the distance, where the concrete road abruptly ended, giving way to a vast plain of dry earth.

As the swirling dust gave way, she could see a grim figure perched on top of the post. Faye squinted and wiped her eyes before venturing closer. The figure was a vulture. An old decrepit thing, it arched its raw, fleshy bald head and regarded her with piercing eyes. The vulture slowly extended its large black wing, pointing to a small dirt road to the side, leading to a run-down wooden house. Faye’s brow wrinkled in confusion, how she didn’t see it earlier?

She gave the vulture a puzzled look and turned to walk down the road. Low heat waves made the ground look blurry in the distance. Slowly but surely, she was at the front of the derelict house. The moldy windows were open, but the door was shut. Faye raised her fist to knock, then hesitated. He could be there.

Faye approached one of the open windows to peer inside. One light bulb lit the living room, revealing cracked walls, a dirty carpet, and an ancient velvet chair in dire need of a wash. “Hello?” She shouted through her cupped hands. Nothing. “Hello!” She boomed. The silence calmed her.

What would she give to someone for staying with her in that desolate, eerie place. Her friend Shannon, who drank with her under Oxton Bridge and carried her home more times than she could count. Levi, always so desperate for a ten-pound note that he would ride half the length of Retford in the winter just to sell her a ten-bag. Though she’d rather have the weed than him, it didn’t constantly ask if she’d like to “have a smoke at mine.” Even those weird twenty-something-year-olds who hung around the skate park with people her age to drink, smoke, sniff, whatever, would be a welcome sight right now. Best of all would be her father, to hold her hand and guide her through the creepy house.

She went back to the door, twisted the oaken doorknob, and pushed. The room smelled like a sweaty old boot. Faye cautiously left the door open, couldn't hurt to let the smell out. Motes of dust drifted around her, almost making her eyes water. She coughed, and waved the air around her face.

A staircase was at her right, a manky open kitchen to her left, and ahead lay the spacious living room. Like the sky, the house looked dead. Paint flaked off the walls, the bulb swung lightly from the ceiling, its light flickered as she walked under it, entering the living room. A coffee table peppered with blood and scalpels; next to the mildewed velvet chair, facing an old television set in the corner. The air hummed, silently, and her hair flickered with it.

A low buzzing sound came from another hallway that led away from the living room at the back wall. It was a compact space. There was a closed-door to the right and a wardrobe to the left. Flies buzzed around it. Faye grabbed the handles and opened the wardrobe.

Her father, Paul, dangled from a rope constricted tightly to his neck. Faye lurched back and hit the door, her hands over her mouth. His corpse pale as bone, chunks of flesh were missing from his face. Maggots squirmed around the sockets of his eyes, and rats with blood-soaked fur clawed through the open gash in his stomach, tearing their way through the walls of the carcass.

Tears welled up in her eyes, and she shut the doors, holding back the choke in her throat. The ceiling above her creaked and thick dust sprinkled over her head. Faye's heart jumped. She held her breath. Another creak, and another, dust falling with each step. Her heart pounded in her chest.

She backed away from the hallway, not taking her eyes off the creaking ceiling where the dust seemed to be going towards the staircase. No, no, not now, she thought, terrified. Faye kept backing away, out of the living room and toward the door. The wooden ceiling groaned with each step. Fingers of sweat crept down her back.

Faye reached back for the door behind her, not taking her eyes off the staircase, still empty. Then he came into view, Mr. Pavlović. He was easily six feet. One cold, milk-white eye sat wedged in a raw gash on his face and there was no mouth, no nose, only stitches and thin wisps of long greasy hair. A twisted creature, composed of mutilated dead limbs covered in scaly flesh, poorly stitched together in the form of a man; they leaked gunk and blood with each step. He began down the stairs.

She screamed and turned for the door; it was shut. Faye grabbed the doorknob, and heaved with all her strength, it wouldn't open. She turned back. Mr. Pavlović was at the base of the stairs.

Adrenaline shot through her veins, and she bolted for the window. It was shut, Faye pushed and pulled and smacked. Nothing happened. She screamed, salty tears leaked into her mouth. He tried to grab her hair with his putrid rotting hand.

Faye ducked and ran through the living room to the small hallway at the back, where the door was still closed, but might be unlocked. Mr. Pavlović followed. He moved quicker than she would have hoped. Faye wiped the sweat from her brow and made for the door. She pulled the handle, and it flung open. Her heart leaped, and she darted through.

It was a pitch-black, cold staircase. Faye almost tripped as she leaped down three steps at a time, desperate to escape the hideous creature following her. She couldn’t see, her hands became her eyes as they scrawled across the coarse stone wall, showing her the way forward.

Footsteps echoed behind her. Faye pressed on, feeling the wall up and down. Furry rats squeaked beneath her and scurried around, their fur and fleshy tails brushing her bare feet. She gasped with each step and ran quicker, feeling his cold presence.

The concrete on the wall turned to wood. A door! Faye desperately brushed around for a handle and felt the cold metal. She pressed it down and pulled to dash through. A thin icy finger clawed her face as she went through, but she fell. There was no ground.

Faye fell into the black void, her insides turned liquid as she descended faster. Her heart raced. A floor was rushing to meet her. Shining, silvery spikes started emerging from it. Faye screamed and put her hands over her eyes when it got too close.

She gasped and shot up from her bed, breathing heavily. Cold sweat drenched her nightgown and her bedsheets. Silver rays of moonlight pierced the window. Faye wiped her face clean of sweat and tears, “A dream! Oh my god!!!” She sniffed, “A bloody dream!!” Almost laughing at how silly she could have been.

Two sets of thin icy fingers crept up her spine and clasped her shoulders.


I’m a new writer that fell in love with the craft around a year ago, I started with a fanfic and have since moved onto my own short stories, one of which has been published on


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