Good day, my friends.
CampNaNo has begun. That means I am writing 26 little stories designed to scare, creep and freak out my readers. I have decided to share my stories with you. One a day.
I’ve never written horror before so I’m not sure how it’s going to go down. In this first one, I was trying to drive Amy mad along with scaring her. My first bit of feedback says it was definitely creepy.
I leave it to you, my peeps, to tell me how I’ve done today.
Have a great Friday!
An Alphabet of Death
A collection of 26 stories of blood and gore
Before I can even begin I must warn you that what you are about to read is meant to be horrible, terrifying and shocking. There will be tales that will gross you out, tales that shock you and tales that will fill you with dread.
Some of those stories, I’m afraid, involve potential triggers; such as child abuse and sexual assault (even if one of those assaults is by unicorns).
Fear not! Each story is approximately two thousand words long.
Fear. Do. For that is my goal.
A Faire Death
Amy & the Arbalest
Amy stood at the entrance to Dunfermline Abby and Palace and scowled at the security guard. “Look you over paid rent a cop! I am the head of the faire that’s opening today and I need to make sure it’s ready.”
“I cannae let you in, lass.” The Scotsman stood tall and glared down at the woman currently driving him insane. “I’m no to let anyone pass until six.”
“’I cannae let you in, lass’,” Amy mocked him. “What is it with you Scots? Freaking nose grinders and rule followers, the lot of you. It’s five-thirty! Let me in!”
The guard was offended. He spread his feet a little more and crossed his arms. He looked her over scathingly. Unfortunately, he had to admire what he saw, a tidy little package in denim and a sheepskin lined leather jacket. He saw a hint of Spanish in her, though her accent was Canadian. That little mouth of hers looked kissable. …Well, he imagined it might be if it wasn’t currently thinned with annoyance. He wondered idly how she’d managed to break her nose; the bump on it made her look adorable. “We’re not a lot of rule followers. If ye hate us so much, what the fook are you doing here?”
“That is none of your business!” She pushed her straight black hair behind her ear and glared at him. “Let me pass! I have to make sure it’s proper and ready. Those fools never get anything right.”
“Seeing as the faire proper doesn’t open until ten, you’ve plenty of time.”
She growled. The guard almost grinned but he tilted his head as if he was listening to something behind him then abruptly stood out of her way. He swept her a gallant bow and smiled. “Sure, ya can pass. May you find all you deserve this morn.” He straightened and graciously offered his help.
“I don’t need help from the likes of you.” Amy sneered at him then marched past, nose in the air, smug that she’d won the argument. Amy was the Chief Gentlewoman of the Privy Chamber, and styled her persona after Kat Ashley, Elizabeth I’s former governess. Her costumes were in the heavy garment bag she carried over her shoulder with one hand. In the other she had a toolbox. Her arms ached from holding them and she wished she had brought her wagon. As she walked up the faire’s main thoroughfare she cast a quick but critical eye over the grounds.
The booths were all locked down with tarps covering their fronts. There were colourful flags and streamers. Flags with coats of arms indicating the lords’ houses fluttered here and there. A movement caught Amy’s eye and she stopped, turning to her left to peer around a booth selling funnel cakes. It was one of many booths that irritated the hell out of Amy because she didn’t feel it was in keeping with the times, even if the oil was boiled in a cauldron. The booth was run by, she ground her teeth on the thought, a trio of witches.
She eventually came to the conclusion that the movement was a flap of tent that had come loose and was moving in the morning breeze and kept moving toward the tent that made her home base for the weekend. She moved off the main path and moved one over, cutting between the double rows of tents. As she reached the mid-point, she realized that there had been no breeze and grew suspicious again. She stopped and called out, “Hello? You’re not supposed to be here.”
“If you’re that manky guard,” she borrowed a low and dirty slang word she’d heard, “piss off. I don’t need your help and I’m not doing anything wrong.” She kept on and turned right when she reached the next commerce row.
Fog crept along the ground, heading for her. Mist suddenly appeared and brushed her face. She grunted in irritation at the cool dampness and tried to wipe her face on her arm. Tendrils of fog seemed to be reaching for her and she trembled a bit with sudden trepidation. Her steps slowed a bit before she laughed at herself and moved forward. “Don’t be ridiculous, Aims, nothing is coming. Ghosts are a myth.”
She moved faster again. If it was a tad quicker, well, she was making up for lost time.
The fog reached her and icy fingers seemed to grip her right ankle. She yelped as the cold burned into her skin and reflexively kicked out her foot. The cold went away but whispers started up around her.
Hell is coming for you
Amy shuddered, the full body shudder that makes your joints ache. “The stories about this place being haunted are just that,” she said to herself. “Stories designed to make foolish people come and look it over.” She paused to stare up at the high stone walls with their multiple arched windows. “No one appreciates the history anymore.”
No one appreciates you.
The fog crept up her legs and wrapped around her thighs, burning her with cold there too. She felt the fabric of her jeans give way. She looked down as the pant leg slid to her ankle. Burned into her thigh was a word. At first she didn’t know what it was but the longer she stared, the clearer it became.
She screamed and tried to run for her tent. People began to appear around her. The flickered in and out and each appeared to be cursing her. Something caught her left ankle and something else pushed her between her shoulder blades. She fell on her face so fast she had no time to scream. Her tool box went flying and broke open, spilling small carpentry tools and makeup all over the ground. Her garment bag was snatched from her fingers. She rolled over, trying to dislodge the weight on her back and stared in awe as her garment bag hung in the air and the zipper slowly slid down.
As the bag was pushed back after the hanger, she suddenly remembered Bess. Amy and Bess had been in line for the same position in the Queen’s Privy Chamber and Amy had been desperate to secure it for herself. So she had planted some of the Queen’s jewels in Bess’s things and waited until it’d been discovered. She herself had whispered in the Queen’s ear that Bess should be executed (banned from the faire). A trial was held and Bess was found guilty.
Another named was burned into her thigh, making her scream high and loud.
Julia was stuck as a washerwoman after the smear campaign Amy had orchestrated so carefully no one had known where it really started. And so it went. While her costumes were taken and shredded by unseen hands and Amy tried scrambling away despite the weights on her shoulders and chest, names were burned into her legs. She was sobbing and going into shock as the last bit of fabric fluttered to the ground.
A face appeared in front of her and a hand slapped her cheek. Keep it together. It’s the only way you’ll get out of this.
Amy choked on her scream, trying to keep it down and nodded. The weights lifted off her chest and she clambered to her feet. She tried to run but the pain in her legs hampered her movements. She limped as quickly as she could toward her tent. It was in sight, only a dozen meters away. She was pushed and poked and prodded.
The fog wrapped around her arm and burned another name into, this time her arm. She whimpered, beyond screaming.
She had seduced Angus into cheating on his wife. The husband and wife team were owners of the faire and had been looking for someone to work with and directly below them. He was Gentleman Sewer of the Bedchamber and his wife was Queen, the two highest positions of this particular event. The person they chose would have access to almost every part of the event from the smallest planning detail to the largest. They’d have a spot right beside the royal tents and be automatically in the Queen’s Privy Chamber. Amy had fucked her way into her position on the committee.
Am reached her tent and tried to untie the knots holding the door flap in place. Ice formed over them and she whimpered again. “No, no, no, no no no,” she muttered over and over.
The last whisper was hot on her ear and it made her scream. Briefly she wondered why the guard hadn’t heard her. The echoes of her last scream were still bouncing off the stone walls. She gave up on trying to get into her tent and stumbled around the side of it. She tripped over a peg and landed on her hands and knees.
Run, little liar.
“My name is Amy!” she screamed.
Amy got up and ran. She sobbed and panted, “Yes it is. It’s Amy!”
You killed that little boy. A flashback had her blind and she tripped again, falling against a tent and almost bringing it down.
Drinking at an office party. Driving home drunk in the summer twilight. A small boy chasing a ball.
The thud that made her puke on herself and sober up fast. She didn’t stop, kept going as the screaming started behind her. She’d gone home, removed her plates, put on another set even though her car was (deliberately) dirty enough that most of the numbers weren’t quite clear. Cleaned up herself and her car, packed a few items of clothing and a favourite book, and then grabbed the bug out bag her father, a man with many secrets, had taught her to keep. She drove her car, gagging on the stench of regurgitated alcohol, to the lake. She sat there until midnight, trying to calm herself down, and then tossed her bags to the ground and drove her car off the pier using a weight on the gas pedal.
She’d watched as it sunk, watched every last gurgle. The only thing missing, she’d thought at the time, was a body. Then she’d pulled on a baseball cap and walked for miles before hailing a cab to take her to the airport. From there she’d taken the first flight out, one to somewhere in Asia, she hadn’t cared, and gotten off at the connecting flight in Belgium. From there, she’d gone to Scotland.
The whole thing had happened several years ago and she’d thought it was done, no one was looking for her anymore.
“It was an accident,” she cried.
The last word was hissed in her ear and ice formed on the upper curve. People appeared around her as she stumbled into the open. She backed up until she was against a wall. The people were dressed as commoners from several centuries, though the majority seemed to be Elizabethan. They were all armed – pitchforks, knives and cranked crossbow that Amy’s brain informed her were arbalests.
They hissed curses at her, insults, as they advanced. The people with arbalests began to swing them in up to aim at her. Then, as one, they pulled the trigger and a dozen bolts flew at Amy to hit her in the chest.
Amy died as the ghostly bolts hit her. They solidified just before they reached her. She died with a screamed apology on her lips and the walls of the abbey opened up to receive her body.
A few minutes later, the guard at the gate sauntered along to clean up her belongings, making it look as if she never appeared. As he did, the fog cleared and the mist dried up to reveal a beautiful dawn. “Nice job,” he murmured as a warm kiss was pressed to his cheek.