Thursday, April 23, 2015

Join Us

This is my Friday Frights that I posted last week on the Friday Frights Blog. It is a two parter, second one to be posted tomorrow,  and has multiple creepy crawlers. I hope you enjoy. Check out all the creepy stories on Friday Frights each week, and maybe join in. The Facebook group is here.

Join Us
by Lisa McCourt Hollar



“Joe, get up!” Helen shook her husband’s shoulder, trying to wake him. Joe groaned and rolled over, pulling the pillow over his head.

“Helen, seriously … I worked all night.”

“I know, but I need your help. I went over to Moira Flanagan’s, to check on her …”

Joe groaned. “Not this again. Helen, she is a consenting adult. 85 years old, if I remember correctly, and Old Man Wilson may be closer to a hundred—if I read the write up in the paper correctly—he’s hardly a  pedophile. If they want to shag, leave them be.”

“It’s not that, Joe. I noticed her mail was piling up on her porch …”

“Noticed, as in you were snooping around.”

“Not snooping. She’s old, her family isn’t around, and I worry about her. She’s been acting strange lately.”

“Old people like sex too, Helen. Nothing strange about that.”

Helen yanked the pillow off his head. “Joe, will you please listen to me? The house is full of spiders!”

Joe blinked his eyes open and looked around the room. There wasn’t a spider in sight. “What house?”

“Moira’s. They’re everywhere, and Joe … I think she’s dead.”

Joe still looked confused. “Who?”

“Moira. She’s … Joe, please come look. It’s just too awful to explain.”

“Okay, fine.” Joe pushed the covers back and sat up. He reached for his pants, which were on the floor next to the bed and pulled them on, followed by his shirt. Once he was dressed, he headed for the door, but Helen stopped him.
“You’ll want your gun.”

“Oh for Pete’s sake, Helen, don’t you think a gun for spiders is overkill?”

“Please.”

Joe sighed and then pulled his gun and the holster from the night stand. It was easier to go along with her than to argue. Maybe then she would let him go back to sleep.

“You might want to call Mike, too.”

****
The walk to Moira Flanagan’s didn’t take long. She lived on the other side of the woods. Maybe it was the ominous way Helen had woken him, or the deafening silence from the ordinarily loud birds, but Joe felt like they were being watched. He shook his head, trying to shake the jitters away, while his hand strayed towards his gun. Helen wasn’t usually so excitable. One of the things he loved about her was her level headedness. The only time he’d seen her lose her cool was when she’d walked in on Moira and Old Man Wilson. He’d tried not to laugh when she’d come running home, horrified at seeing the old woman being taken—apparently from behind—by the even older Mr. Wilson. He thought what horrified her the most was Moira looking up at Helen, her breasts swinging freely while Mr. Wilson continued to pound into her from behind, and smiling, said, “Either shut the door dear and join us, or get the fuck out … Unless you want to watch,” the old woman had added, “you might learn a thing or two.”

“I hope you knocked this time,” Joe said, trying to ease the tension.

“I knocked last time and she’d yelled at me to come on in ... or at least I thought she did. Maybe I misheard. I knocked this time too, but she didn’t answer.”

“So you decided to throw caution to the wind and go in?”

“Something didn’t seem right. The door was cracked a bit …”

“That’s not like Moira,” Joe said. “Did anything look out of place?”

“You mean like all the mutant spiders, and Moira’s dead body?”

“Are you sure she’s dead? Maybe she was sleeping.”

“She’s dead, Joe.”

They stepped out of the woods and into the driveway, just as a car came pulling up to the log house. It was Mike, Joe’s partner. He opened the door and stepped out, still in full uniform.

“Geesh Mike,” Joe said, “have you even been home yet?”

Mike shrugged, looking weary. “I took a second job providing security at the school.”

“It’s Saturday.”

“True, but I like to go by there and make sure everything’s okay. Vandals like to strike on the weekend.”

“And that cute, new librarian goes in on Saturday mornings,” Joe teased.

“Jennifer?” Mike asked. “Yes, I suppose she does. It never occurred to me she might be there.”

“I bet not.”

“Can you two discuss the cute new librarian, later,” Helen asked.

Mike raised his eyebrows and glanced at Joe. “What’s going on?”

“Helen came over to check on Moira. She says she’s dead.”

“Wouldn’t be surprised. Old woman was farting dust. Sorry,” he said when Helen glared at him, “but she was pretty old. It shouldn’t be surprising that she’s dead … unless you suspect foul play. Maybe Old Man Wilson knocked her up, I mean off, so he could have her money.”

“It isn’t foul play,” Helen said stiffly, “but her death wasn’t natural. Come on … you’ll see.”

The two men followed Helen up to the porch. The door was standing wide open. Joe stepped inside the cabin and sucked in his breath. Behind him, Mike swore, “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Helen, you were here just last week. You didn’t say anything …”

“About spiders,” Helen said. “They weren’t here last week.”

The entire inside of the house was covered by spider webs, some stretching from one wall, all the way over to the other.

“I don’t see any spiders, do you?” Mike was sticking close to the door, ready to run. He didn’t know what size spider made webs like these, and he was sure he didn’t want to find out.

“I only saw one when I was here earlier,” Helen said. “I ran for Joe before I saw any more. One was
enough, but I know there’s more.” She nodded towards Joe’s gun. “You might want to pull it out of the holster.”

“I might want to call an exterminator,” Joe said. “Show me where you found Moira.”

“I hate bugs,” Mike said, cautiously following Helen and Joe down the hall.

“Spiders aren’t bugs,” Joe said. “They’re arachnids.”

“I don’t give a fuck what they are,” Mike said. “They’re creepy crawlies.”

Something moved off to the side and Mike swung his gun towards it. A white spider, about the size of a mouse was scurrying across the wood floor. More of the weird spiders were crawling across the furniture in the room, and along the walls.

“I think I found your arachnids,” he whispered.

“Over here.” Helen led them towards a room further down the hall. It was Moira’s bedroom. The elderly woman—or at least Joe assumed it was Moira—was lying in bed. Her body was cocooned in spider webs. Nothing of his neighbor was left visible.

“Yep, she’s dead,” Mike said.

Crawling over Moira were more of the freaky looking spiders. Some of them were the same size as the one they’d seen in the other room, but others were larger, along the size of a small dog. The spiders stopped moving when Mike spoke, turning so that they were looking at the three intruders.

“I think maybe we should leave,” Mike whispered.

“Sounds good to me.” Joe took Helen’s hand and turned to leave the room. It was then that the three found their path was blocked by more creepy crawlies. Not the spider creepy crawlies, but giant beetle, creepy crawlies. The bugs, slightly smaller than the spiders, were lining up like soldiers ready to do battle. Helen screamed.

“And there are the bugs,” Joe said, drawing his gun.

The insects advanced. Behind them, the spiders scurried towards them. Then Moira sat up, the spider webbing falling from her body. She was a younger version of the Moira Joe knew, her body no longer sagging, but taut—alluring.

She rose from the bed and the spiders, which had been advancing, parted to allow her past.

To Be Continued

Monday, April 13, 2015

Devoured



 Devoured

by Lisa McCourt Hollar 

 
Reba stared out the window of the laundry mat and shivered. There was something ominous about the fog. It reminded her of a movie she’d watched before. It was thick fog—so heavy you couldn’t see two feet in front of you. It had crept in while she’d been collecting the change from the dryers. There were no windows in the narrow pathway behind the machines, so when she’d come back out into the main room she’d been surprised to see the mist outside. Her trailer, just across the street, had vanished, leaving her with the feeling of being cut off from the outside world.  Her first thought was that the windows had fogged up—except that none of the dryers were running. She hadn’t opened the doors yet. R & B Laundry didn’t open for business until 10 AM. Late, compared to other cleaning services in the area, but being as she was the R in R & B Laundry, she could damn well set her own hours. Bob didn’t mind. He didn’t have anything to do with the business. Her mother thought she should have married someone more ambitious. Her mother could go fuck herself. More ambitious meant someone like Reba’s daddy and she’d rather burn in hell than be married to someone like her daddy. Bob may be a brain dead schnook, but he didn’t hit her.
She started to turn away from the window so she could fill the change machine, but something caught her eye. A woman was standing outside smoking a cigarette. Her eyes narrowed. She knew from the platinum blond that it could be none other than Barbara Reynolds. She had no smoking signs up all over the building, but that didn’t stop Barbara. The woman enjoyed antagonizing her. Reba headed towards the door to ask—no, demand—that Barbara put out the cigarette, but she vanished. One minute she was there, the next, poof, she was gone. Not really gone though, Reba scoffed at herself. It’s the fogit’s swallowed her for a moment. Reba cringed at that thought. Okay, maybe swallowed is a poor word choice, she thought, but point is, she’s out there. She went to the window and peered out. Suddenly a hand slammed against the glass, startling Reba. Then a face appeared, smashed against the window. It was the woman.
Reba stepped backwards. What the hell. Was the woman crazy? Then she noticed the window where the woman’s face was pressed against it, was smeared with red.
“Oh my God …” Reba wasn’t sure if she should open the door and help the woman. What could have done this to her. An animal? There was a pit bull that lived a few houses down from the laundry mat, Reba had seen the owner walking it before, maybe it had gotten loose. She knew—or at least her friend was always telling her—that pit bulls were given a bum rap. “Unfairly targeted and labeled as vicious,” is what Diane would say whenever someone brought the subject up. Reba was sure that Diane believed that, she just wasn’t sure she did. Of course she wasn’t much of a dog person anyway. Or a people person. She knew she should open the doors and let the woman in before whatever had attacked her came back, but she couldn’t move. It was the fog. In the movie she’d seen, creatures had been lurking in the mist, ready to devour unsuspecting victims. Reba didn’t want to be an unsuspecting victim, so she froze—only for a moment—but that was enough. While she was trying to decide what to do, hands came out of the haze and pulled the Barbara back in. Reba heard a scream and then nothing more. Until the woman’s head landed against the window again. Just her head. Her body was gone.
A figure came out of the fog, a silhouette at first, then more substantial, and picked up the head. He turned it upside down and reached into the skull, scooping out bloody sludge and sucking it into his mouth. The man—creature—looked up and into Reba’s eyes. Her knees buckled, but somehow she managed to stay on her feet as she stared back into her husband’s eyes. They were vacant. Dead. She always found it a bit unsettling, even though he’d been dead—quite literally—for the better part of a year.

“Bob,” she scolded as she opened the laundry’s door, “how many times have I told you, you can’t eat the customers!”
Bob grunted back, his words unintelligible. Reba got the gist of it though. “I know I didn’t feed you today, but that doesn’t mean it was ok to leave the trailer.”
Bob made a couple more grunts and pointed to the signs all over the building.
“You’re right, she was smoking. She broke the rules, but Bob, what do you think people will do if they see you?” She paused to give him a chance to ponder that thought. “That’s right,” she said, when he grunted and tapped the side of his head, “they’ll shoot your noggin off.” Then softly, “I rather like your noggin. Now come on, help me get Barb into the trailer before the fog lifts.”
She worked out in her mind what she would do. A hand, that’s all she would need. Maybe an arm … yeah, an arm would be better. She’d throw it over the Pittie’s fence. She hoped Diane would take it well. It was her dog.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Every Breath You Take



My Friday Frights for the week. The theme is Murder Set To Music. My story is based on the song Every Breath You Take, by The Police.

Every Breath You Take
By Lisa McCourt Hollar




“Steve, please … I’m not ready for this  …” Amanda pushed his hand away from her waist and tried to sit up.
“Baby, come on … how many cold showers do you expect me to take?” He put his hand on her bare leg, letting slip beneath the short skirt. She slapped his hands and pushed him onto the floor. Steve laughed. “You know I like a challenge.”
“And you know I said I wasn’t ready.”
Steve sighed. “I guess I take as many cold showers as you need me to then, but baby, please try not to take too long getting ready.”
He headed for the door, but Amanda stopped him by putting a hand on his arm. She didn’t want him leaving mad. Maybe she shouldn’t have worn the skirt, but damn, she looked good in it. She kissed him, softly on the lips and then pulled away. “Call me tomorrow.”
After she closed the door, Amanda went to take her own cold shower. She nearly changed her mind earlier, nearly invited Steve to spend the night, but she wasn’t ready for that kind of intimacy yet. She wasn’t ready for Steve to see the parts of her she couldn’t even look at.
She stepped into the shower and closed her eyes as the water ran over her head and down her back. She squeezed the soap onto the loofa and began to scrub at her skin. Angry welts spread across her body, painting her normally pale skin red. She cringed as her fingers grazed the scars on her breasts. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t make those go away. She tried though, scrubbing her breasts and her stomach until they bled.  Would she ever feel clean again?
She stepped out of the shower. Her cell phone rang. She glanced at the screen; it was Steve. Smiling, she picked up the phone and pressed answer.
“If it makes you feel better, I just finished showering, myself.”
Steve didn’t answer. Instead a song began to play. Every Breath You Take, by The Police. Then the song stopped and a voice came through. “I told you, Jessie, I won’t let you go. I won’t let another man have you either. Every day, every night, I’m watching.”
Dropping the phone, she ran to the window, trying to peek through the curtain without being seen. Steve’s car was still out on the street. She could see him sitting behind the wheel, but he wasn’t moving. She wouldn’t … couldn’t, go outside and check on him. She knew he wasn’t alive.
A cruiser with two police officers pulled up outside. She wondered who had called them. Tom? If so, that was new. Maybe he was trying to keep her from running again. Maybe a neighbor. Mrs. Thornton? She liked to keep an eye on the neighborhood. If she’d seen anything suspicious, she’d have called the police … but if she’d seen Tom, she’d be dead too. So maybe it was just a coincidence. They stepped out of the car and approached Steve. When they reached his car, one of the officers turned from the scene, bent over and threw up in the grass. The other staggered a few steps and then ran back to their cruiser and called for backup. Amanda opened the door and stepped out. Tom was watching. She could feel his eyes on her. She looked around. She couldn’t see him. But he was out there. Before long, other cars arrived. Police, ambulance … though that one came without lights on … a van with the local news logo painted on the outside, and gawkers who just wanted to see what the commotion was all about.
The officer who had lost his lunch, and his partner, came up to the porch to talk to her. He introduced himself as Officer Green and his partner, Officer White. She almost laughed. 

“He’s watching me.” She started.
“Who?” Officer Green asked. He looked over his shoulder towards Steve’s car.
“No, not Steve. Tom. He’s my husband. Was my husband. I guess he’s not anymore.”
“Divorced?”
“No. He’s dead. At least that’s what everyone believes. He’s not. At first I thought he was, and then when I saw him—alive—I thought I was crazy. Then I thought maybe he was a ghost. He’d always said dying couldn’t keep him away from me. But he’s not dead, just everything he touches. Or anyone who touches me.”
“Is it Tom who killed him?” Officer White motioned towards the ambulance, where Steve’s body was being put into the back.
“Yes. He called me to let me know. I’d been seeing Steve for a few months. We went out the first time in December, right before Christmas. When nothing happened … when Tom didn’t call, when nothing dead showed up on my porch, I thought maybe I had managed to get away. Maybe this time he wouldn’t find me. Do you know how many times I’ve moved? How far I’ve ran, and still, he keeps coming.”
“No?” Officers Green and White exchanged glances. Amanda knew they thought she was crazy.
“My name is Jessica Carry. I’ve also been Tony Gray, Shannon Grace, and Bethany High. I go by Amanda Bennett now. Tomorrow … well, I don’t know who I will be tomorrow. Probably a prisoner with a long number after it. And I still won’t be safe.
Officer Green’s hand went to his gun. “You’re Jessica Carry? Jessica Lynn Carry?”
Officer White looked puzzled, but he wasn’t slow to his partner’s response. He reached for his gun too.
“You don’t need that. I’m not going to resist.”
Officer Green pointed his gun at her anyway. “Turn and place your hands against the wall.”
Amanda sighed and turned, placing her hands on the side of the house. “I know you don’t believe me, but I didn’t kill all those men.”
“You have the right to remain silent … ” Officer Green read her, her rights, while Officer White cuffed her.
“It was Tom. I know you don’t believe me, but it was.”
“Ma’am,” Officer Green said, “I followed the case. One of the men you killed was my cousin.”
“Your cousin? Wait … Green … Johnny Green? He was a sweet boy.”
“That he was. And then you hacked his head off.”
“Tom did that. He found out I was sleeping with him.”
They walked her to the cruiser and Officer White helped her into the back seat. Officer Green shook his head.
“I remember you telling that story, after you got caught. It was the same with all the men. You’d been screwing them, your husband found out and he killed them. Only problem is, your husband was the first one you killed. They found him in your basement. He was dead when you chopped my cousin up. He was dead when you killed the others. When you killed that unlucky soul tonight.”
“He’s not dead. Or maybe he is, but he’s not gone, and he’s coming after me.”
Officer Green shut the door and got in the front. He started the car and the drove off. She saw Cora Roberts, the local news anchor, and a camera man filming her as the car drove off.
She felt icy fingers stroked the back of her neck while whispered words brushed against her ear. They had been words sung at their wedding.  Every breath you take … At the time she’d thought they were romantic words. Until his first jealous fit. The first cuts he inflicted—scarring her so no other man would want her. You belong to me. She swept the hand away, but there was nothing there. She was alone in the back seat. You’re dead, she whispered. Tom laughed. She looked out the window. She saw his reflection in the glass. Faint—ghost like—a phantom. She had killed him. Turned the knife on him while he slept.  She should have been free. He whispered again, Every day—every night—every breath you take—I’ll be watching you.