He was exhausted. The rain pattered and whistled in the evening air. He could hear the tick of the clock as it moved closer to midnight. His new home held an eerie quiet to it. The floorboards creaked and the fire crackled even as the howling wind began to pick up. He heard thunder strike. ‘One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, four, five…’. Another crack, one mile away. The lights flickered and then the lights were out. He made his way downstairs; with each step the floorboards creaked. Thunder and then a flash of lightning. “Was that a streak of green?’, he thought. No, it couldn’t be. Lightning flashes are white, not green. The owls were hooting tonight. On most evenings, he typically only heard one. Tonight, it sounded as though they were hundreds; every owl in the forest must have been awake, watching for some unknown presence in the dark. He heard a light tap on the window. Just a gentle, *tap, *tap*, *tap*. As he walked down the stairs, he stumbled. He caught his fall on something furry. Soft, almost like feathers. It was his trench coat, hanging neatly on his coat rack. At least he had made it downstairs. He walked by his fire, growing dimmer with each passing moment. The flames danced back and forth, illuminating the shadows on the walls. He found his way to the kitchen, where he fumbled to grab a flashlight before heading down to the basement, where the breaker was located. *creak*, *creak*, *creak* went the floorboards. *creeeeaaak* made the door handle as he opened it and peered into the darkness below. Each step was heavy and the sound of wood made the journey tense. Water splashed as he hit the ground floor. He went deeper into the basement. He heard a gentle hoot and his flashlight beam hit glowing, green eyes in the dark.
The Mirror: A short Story by Mike Cole
She looked in the mirror every morning. She would wake, she would go to work, and she would sleep. In the morning she would simply stare. A minute, half an hour, time seemed to have no relevance. Her dreams were shattered and her life was nowhere near where she thought it would be. Now in her mid thirties, going on thirty-six, she was alone. A small apartment, where her diploma hung, unused. She had worked retail since graduation and she no longer had the energy to try to make use of her degree. She would greet the customer, come home, and sleep.
The mirror was old. It was what she had left of her parents and the mirror had been passed down in her Mother’s family for a few generations now. The mirror had a small crack, distorting her reflection just over her right eye. It gave the impression of disfigurement when in reality she was quite beautiful. Long, flowing blonde hair, hazel eyes borderline green, and a long face that had a hint of melancholy to it. If she was sad, it hardly showed.
But she was indeed sad and as she lay in bed, she decided she could not sleep and instead looked into the mirror. Instead of disfigurement she saw herself as a child. She was painting and she was smiling. As a child, she loved art. Drawing, painting, and sculpting, she had done it all. As she grew older, she focused on the practical and lost that creative spark; she had not thought about this in years and wondered what had happened to her.
Beth jolted awake from her sleep. It was 3am. Had it only been a dream? The rain pattered the window and the sound of thunder could be heard in the distance. The rain grew louder, the thunder grew closer. Lightning flashed and hit the mirror. Beth gasped as she did not see a child but a decaying corpse. Tufts of hair had already begun falling out and the strands remaining where blonde. The air in the bedroom began to smell of dirt and some other, strange odor. Spoiled milk? No, that couldn’t be it. Rotten meat? Close, but not quite. She went over to the mirror to get a closer look. The image did not fade. The jaw was disconnected and the flesh had begun rotting away. Beth was frozen. Surely this was a dream. The left eye was faded and all but gone grey. Beth slowly moved her head and examine where the right eye should have been. Instead, a worm began to crawl out of an empty socket. She looked closer and noticed it was crawling through the tiny crack in the mirror. She ran and flipped on the light. Whoever was in the mirror was gone, along with the worm. She felt a faint breeze from behind, a flash of lightning, and the power went out; she was in total darkness.
And thus concludes my October series. A month of short stories and hopefully a couple scares as I experiment with horror. I had a blast writing the short stories and while it was not my typical genre, it was great practice. Next year will hopefully be a little more involved as I work on marketing my content and making it available to more individuals. I’m excited for Halloween and have been ramping up my horror intake all month for the Thirty-First. If you enjoyed this post, consider leaving a like, following if you’re new to the blog, and sharing among your friends. It’s been a great year for the blog and your support makes a huge difference. If you want to support me as a creator, I also have a Patreon and Ko-Fi page:
Thanks for reading and have a spooky rest of your October!
The Manor: A short Story by Mike Cole
The manor was old, long since abandoned by the family that had once called it their home. Generations it had stood, and in a couple it was all but forgotten.
He held the Will in his hands, surprised by what his father had left him. A manor tucked away on the Irish countryside, along the Irish coast. It was a quaint little place, with 20 rooms in total. Coming from America, Ireland was new. He had been looking for a change for a while now and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Some time alone to collect himself and start over, fresh. The manor had a groundskeeper that typically visited a couple times a year to maintain the premise. Other than that, no one had set foot on the property in over a century.
His plane landed in Dublin, from there he would travel North some while and then continue East until he reached his final destination. When he finally arrived, he felt the gentle Ocean breeze greet him as he pulled up the drive. The manor was more beautiful than he could have possibly imagined, being built in the late 1800’s by a wealthy Irishman and his wife; his great-great-great grandfather. Shortly afterwards, his great-great-great grandfather fell ill and the house was passed down to his son. And then his son and so forth. Now here he stood, at the large oak doors with the key in hand. He turned the lock and the doors opened.
Inside, the foyer was massive with two grand staircases leading to the upper level. Between the two staircases stood a massive door and to the left the hall that led to the kitchen. Henry found the fridge, stocked with fresh meat and beer in anticipation for his arrival. The groundskeeper was not there when he arrived but said he would stop by later in the week to check in on him. He checked the pantry, stocked with fresh bread and sugars to the hearts delight. In front of the pantry stood the door to the basement. He opened it and peered down the stairs. Dark. Not a window in sight save for a tiny window in the rightmost corner. The circuit breaker was located in the basement but not much else of interest. He took one step as the stair creaked and decided there was no need to go down just yet. He turned around and headed down the hall, walking past the foyer and into the nursery. Here, there was much work needed. Plants were overgrown and vines crept about, touching the glass of their encasement. He thought this odd as the manor had a groundskeeper but perhaps their work pertained to the garden outback and general upkeep of the structure, not the small, long forgotten nursery.
As he wandered upstairs, he heard a thump that sounded like it had come from the kitchen. He hurried back down and into the kitchen. He checked the table, counter and the surrounding area; all seemed to be in order. When he checked the pantry, he noticed a cookie jar on the ground. This must have been what had fallen. He set the jar back up on the shelf and swept the crumbs off the pantry floor. He felt a breeze and noticed the basement door slightly ajar. “huh, must be a loose lock”, he thought, as he gently closed the door until he heard it click.
As he climbed the stairs and made it to the second floor, he admired the long halls each with their many rooms should company ever find its way to the manor. The Master bed was down the East corridor and located on its own separate wing, facing South towards the drive. The Western corridor housed the staircase to the attic. As he entered the Master bed, he noticed the balcony and stepped outside for a quick smoke. If he looked East, he could see the Ocean and in front of him stood the forest that greeted all travelers on there way up the drive. The wind blew slightly, and to him, it sounded like a gentle hum. He looked out towards the drive. The forest was dense and hard to see from this distance. The leaves rustled and formed the vague outline of a figure. He blinked and noticed it was only the sturdy trunk of a large oak. He headed back inside as the light began to fade.
He had arrived at four and it had taken him three hours to drive to the manor from Dublin. He decided to have a quick dinner before bed and promptly headed towards the kitchen. He found pasta noodles in the pantry and picked some tomatoes from the garden with the last of the light. By the time he reentered the house, it was already dark. He started boiling water on the stovetop and sliced tomatoes on the cutting board while the onions and carrots sautéed in the pan. He ate, found the washroom at the top of the stairs, and then proceeded down the hall to his bed. It was ten and it had been a long day.
He awoke at three to the sound of thumping. He went to turn on the light and heard a click. The power was out. The wind howled outside and the rain poured heavily. The balcony door was ajar and he promptly closed it as flashes of lightning blanketed the sky. He drifted off to sleep and woke at three thirty three to more thumping. He checked the balcony door, “locked tight.” He heard the thumping again, this time louder. It sounded as though it was coming from downstairs. He lit a candle and ventured out of his room. With each step he took, the floor creaked, as if moaning from the many years of quiet slumber now being awoken. The candle flickered as he walked down the long hall, with flashes of lightning followed by distant thunder breaking the silence. The rain pattered and he felt a drop of water. Then another, and then another. He heard creaking from downstairs and when he reached the foyer, he noticed the heavy oak doors wide open, mud everywhere. And that’s when he saw her. A woman standing in the doorway, dripping from the rain.
Thanks for reading and I hope you all are enjoying my Spooktacular October! If you enjoyed this short story, please consider following the blog and sharing among your friends as well as leaving a like! If you want to support me as a creator, below is a link to my Patreon and Ko-Fi as well as simply donating directly through Paypal.
As always, feel free to comment below; I love hearing from you all!
The Church: A short story by Mike Cole
The church had existed since the early 1600s, having been established when Walden was built. As time passed, so did the church. Vines grew and the church stood abandoned, waiting. The boards creaked, and the walls began to blister. No one could remember if there had been any worship there but assumed there had. The grass in the yard was overgrown and weeds grew aplenty. The gate was locked but the cast iron fence had since rusted, giving entrance to a place no one would go. Occasionally the bell would ring, however, not to any frequency that the average church goer was accustomed. The bell would always ring at 3am and those who were awoken from their slumber say that on cold nights they could see a light flickering by the altar. At 3:01am the bell would stop and the light would dissipate. If one looked closely, they might have seen a dark shadow and heard the old, rotting boards creak but perhaps that was nothing. On foggy nights where the moon shun full, it is said the bell grew louder and the sound came closer to town. Some say humming could be heard on these nights, growing louder with the bell and coming to an end on the 33rd chime, on the 33rd minute of the 3rd hour. Town gossip, perhaps, but the fact remained, no one ever went near the old church.
And that’s a wrap! For the entire month, I am dedicating this month to all that goes bump in the night. This month is shaping up to be a month of short stories as I practice my writing in different genres. Horror is fun but extremely difficult to write, so please let me know what you think! If you enjoyed this article, consider liking, following and sharing my blog! If you want to support me as a creator, below is a link to my Ko-Fi and Patreon pages!
Your donation helps quite a bit and I appreciate everyone who is currently supporting or supported in the past! With that said, please let me know what you think! I welcome all feedback!
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