Have you gotten your copy yet, or can you handle it?
If you love horror, you shouldn’t be without this book!
I’m compiling a bunch of short stories and would love to have some input on what everyone thinks of this one. It would be GREAT if you could like, share, comment, post and repost! This was longer than I wanted it to be but I think it’s still short enough to grab the attention of the reader, but I don’t know—You tell me 🙂
“You’re next,” Aunt Marie whispered to Bridgette as everyone cheered while the groom kissed the bride.
Bridgette resisted the temptation to roll her eyes. Aunt Marie could be so condescending and was always on her about not having kids or being married. What business was it of hers, anyway? She’d been with the man she thought she would marry, her high school sweetheart, for nearly nine years and didn’t want to go through that heartache again. It was only two years after she’d left the scumbag, not really time enough to mend the wound or learn to trust someone enough to have his children. Sometimes when she’d had enough of Aunt Marie, she would say, “I wish I’d had kids with Jake,” and then Aunt Marie would question why, reminding her of the scores of women he had cheated on her with. Aunt Marie just didn’t get it.
This was Bridgette’s cousin’s first marriage, Aunt Marie’s other niece, and when the date was finally set, it was all everyone talked about for the past few months, and not it was finally here. Bridgette sat through it with a mix of emotion: Boredom, frustration, envy, jealousy, and joy that since it would finally be over soon she wouldn’t have to hear about it as much. She hated all this wedding stuff but something inside her felt like she and Jake should have been the ones exchanging vows. She couldn’t decide whether she loved or hated the idea of being his wife. She’d just found out a few weeks ago through some mutual friends that he was getting married and while she didn’t care on one level, she was a bit resentful on another. And on yet another plane, she felt pity for the poor girl he was going to marry. From what little Bridgette knew of her, she could tell this girl deserved better.
Great, she thought as her cousin rounded up all the single women to catch the bouquet. And when the flowers were tossed, they went right toward Bridgette. Instinctually she raised her hands, and though she didn’t intend to catch it, she did.
“I told you that you were next!” cried Aunt Marie with a tone that Bridgette took as, “I told you so!” but could have just been excitement. It can be hard to tell the meaning behind the voice inflections of a bitch.
Desperate to get away from the fuss, Bridgette found a little table and flagged a caterer walking by with a tray of half-full wine glasses. She took two. One more comment about how she’d caught those damn flowers and was next in line to be married and she swore to everything holy that she would snap.
“Hey. I’m Jim,” said a guy she’d only known to be a friend-of-a-friend of her cousin’s boyfriend-now-husband. “Mind if I sit here?”
At a glance he wasn’t her type, but even so, she said, “Suuuure,” in a monotone lack of enthusiasm. And as they chatted, she soon she found the neverending supply of wine loosening her tongue as she complained of her ex-boyfriend and what he had put her through. But Jim was very sweet and understanding. And before she knew it, they were dancing and laughing.
A week later, she found that she had fallen hard for him despite herself. She’d forgotten her ex. She’d forgotten all the pain. And one year later, things still felt the same. They were married in a ceremony that made her cousin secretly jealous, and Aunt Marie was already asking when they were going to have kids.
Bridgette found herself pregnant three months after the wedding and was overjoyed. She’d planned to keep it a secret from Aunt Marie until the baby was born just for spite, but knew that she probably would slip up and she’d find out through the grapevine. However, she made sure that Aunt Marie was the last and least person she called. Bridgette and Jim couldn’t have been happier.
One morning, Bridgette got out of bed to answer a text on her cell phone. She was seven months along in her pregnancy and couldn’t wait until the baby was finally born. What a relief it would be on her body! And as she slowly got out of bed, she asked herself why she didn’t just put the stupid phone on the nightstand?
It was her ex-boyfriend. Jake. The last person she’d expected. He’d left a text message saying that his marriage was failing. She smiled to herself. She hadn’t talked to him in ages. The last time was two or three weeks after the breakup when he begged her to come back and she had said no, only with much more color. But now he was coming to her as a shoulder to cry on. He wanted to get together for coffee so he could talk. She was the only one that he’d ever really opened up to, and now that his marriage was in shambles and he could no longer talk to his wife, he must’ve realized how alone he truly was.
Bridgette responded to the coffee date offer with a “When and where,” and he replied back with a place, time and date. “C u there,” she replied. She had no intention of going because he scheduled the meet for Thursday afternoon, when she’d be at work, but it’s not like she would have gone if her life depended on it. She didn’t even find much joy in gloating over his marital misfortune because she’d moved on from the hurt he had caused, although she kind of wished she’d seen him get his dose of Karma when she actually cared instead of this feeling of indifference. But standing him up when he really needed someone would be her final act of “Screw you!” unless he didn’t get the picture and decided to text her back to ask why she didn’t show. Then she could tell him just that in a text, and that would be that.
She struggled to the kitchen to get a drink of water and then to the bathroom to prepare for a shower. Since she had a couple of days off from work, she was going to make the most of it and take it easy.
While she was in the shower, Jim came home early to surprise her with some gifts. Bridgette’s phone was on the bed as a sound went off indicating that she’d had a message. He picked it up thinking it would be from her mom or one of her friends; it wasn’t abnormal for either of them to use each other’s phone.
“C u then sweetie love Jake” the text read. Jim instantly recognized the name: Jake. He remembered that name from Bridgette’s drunken rant at the wedding, but he thought she loved him enough to forget Jake since he’d never heard her utter the name since. The pain stung him as he scrolled through their messages and he could feel his stomach flip. It felt like a hazy dream as his world crumbled. Like none of this was actually happening.
He dropped the bouquet he’d brought home for her. He walked over the flowers, crushing them into the carpet as he strolled to the kitchen and grabbed something from a drawer. For a moment he stopped dead in his tracks as tears began to stream down his face, then he wiped them away with his sleeve and composed himself before going back into the bedroom and taking a seat on the bed. Then he simply waited for her to finish her shower.
“You’re home early, Jim!” she said with surprised delight. Then she noticed the flowers on the floor. “Those for me?” she asked, screwing up her face and pointing toward them as she wrapped a towel around her head. “Wow, you’re awfully quiet. What’s up? Something wrong?”
Jim sat silently, cocking his head lovingly as he looked at her. He wanted to be able to remember her like this forever. Vibrant, beautiful, alive with that glow of an expecting mother.
She walked over to him and wrapped her arms around him. “What’s wrong, baby? Can I make it better?”
He put his arm around her and pulled her in, holding her close. Then she felt several sharp pains slicing through her back and into her body. The light of life was barely visible in her eyes, but they still looked at him questioningly. She coughed, blood gurgling from her full lips as she barely clung to life by a thread. He kissed her gently, then laid her on the floor and picked up the crushed and blood-soaked flowers, laying them across her belly.
“It’s okay, baby. I love you. I love you,” he said softly moving his hand down to her tummy to see if he could feel the baby kicking. “Hey there, little one. You must be sleeping now, huh?” And then she took two short breaths as all signs of life—hers and the baby’s—left her body.
Both the tradition of catching the bouquet and Aunt Marie’s words were both proven to be premonitory. Bridgette had been next.
Little Suzy is now an eBook, available on smashwords in various formats, and on Barnes & Noble.
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It was a Sunday evening. Jessie walked home from her best friend’s house, just as she did every Sunday. It was still early, but as the seasons had changed, the sky grew dark earlier than it had over the summer. She knew she shouldn’t have brought her backpack, but it was full of fun stuff that she and Abigail liked to do. Arts, crafts, odds and ends. Next time she would take a few things out so she wouldn’t have to lug all that extra weight around.
All of a sudden, Jessie heard something behind her. She turned to look, but nothing was there. She shrugged her shoulders and went along on her merry way. But then, she heard it again. This time she stopped, and started walking slowly. The sound slowed to her own pace. She kept walking, hoping to get home soon. And then she came to a lamplight and curiosity overtook her.
She turned cautiously, squinting her eyes to see in the distance. Nothing there. And when she looked down, all that she saw was her own shadow which startled her at first. Weird, she thought. It looked really tall. Then she laughed at her silliness when she realised that the noise was coming from the mass of keychains dangling on her backpack. So, she continued to walk.
When Jessie came to the next street lamp, she felt something, maybe a rock, in her shoe. She caught a glimpse of her shadow, which looked bigger than before. The light can play funny tricks with shadows sometimes, she thought. As she knelt down with the weight of the backpack upon her, struggling to take off the shoe, she wasn’t paying attention to the shadow which had grown even more in size.
Suddenly, it peeled off the pavement in the shape of a huge person, red-yellow glowing eyes fixed upon her. She wasn’t paying much attention to it as it rose up and swallowed her, because she knew that the light can play funny tricks with shadows. The shadow-thing flattened back out on the sidewalk and merged into the other evening shadows, which Jessie was now a part of.
There was something wrong with the new baby. Something strange. Mom and Dad didn’t believe me, and I’d even overheard them talking about me being jealous. Me? Jealous? I was too busy playing basketball at Jim’s house after school to be jealous, not to mention torturing the neighbourhood girls with my buddies. I kinda had a crush on Jenny who lived a few houses down, and I teased her more than the other girls. She always gave it right back to me with some clever remark about my clothes or my hair. I think that’s what I liked about her. She didn’t back down easily, and even though I said I hated playing sports with a girl and tried everything to at least keep her off of the opposing team, I really just didn’t want her playing because she was pretty tough. She once gave me a pretty nasty bruise in a friendly game of football! No one knew I liked her, and no one knew I was afraid of her. The guys would never let me live that down.
And they would never let me live it down if they had found out I’m the one who named the new baby. Megan Elizabeth. And they would really give me a hard time if they found out that I had picked out almost everything in the nursery, from the pink giraffe, pink bunnies, and pink blankets, right down to the paint: Baby Powder Pink. I had a theme going on, and for good reason. When the sun came in through the blinds, all that pink gave the room a sort of rosy glow.
Does that sound like someone who’s jealous? I had been so excited waiting for the new baby that it was all I ever thought about! There was really something bizarre with that baby, and though I couldn’t put my finger on it, I wasn’t making it up!
I sat there with Jenny on the front step of her house. I rarely had meaningful conversations with anyone, but I felt close enough to her to tell her how I felt.
“Well,” she said, “I don’t think you’re jealous like your parents say you are. But maybe you just expected something more from the baby when your parents brought her home. But you have to remember, Megan is just a baby. They don’t do much of anything. It will be a while before you teach her to say your name, and it takes time before she will be able to get around on her own. I think you might have been expecting someone to play sports and video games with, and it doesn’t work that way. As you watch her grow, you’ll get closer to her. I’m sure of it. Until then, maybe you could feed her. Hold her. Read to her. You know, just bond with her.”
“I hope you’re right. It feels weird, sharing your home with a stranger.”
Just then, we spotted Jenny’s friends at the end of the road. “Oh, great!” she said under her breath. “Don’t tell them any of the stuff I just told you. I don’t want them thinking I like you!”
I got a little jolt from that, wondering if she really did like me.
“I’ll see you later, loser!” I said when her friends were close enough to hear.
“Yeah. See you later, slob!” she yelled back.
I played some basketball with my friends until it started to get dark, and I was exhausted. I went home, took a shower, and I went straight to bed.
It was around two in the morning when I heard the baby cry. Mom and Dad had been so tired lately. Thinking that maybe Jenny was right, I figured I would take the opportunity to bond with the new baby. And it would help my parents out, too.
I changed her, and after I scrubbed my hands she still seemed a bit fussy. I had fed her before, but I had never made her a bottle. Time to learn, I thought. Besides, I didn’t think it could be that hard. I’d just read the label. Simple enough.
I found the formula, and when I opened the can I was hit by a terrible smell. I wondered if it was supposed to smell that bad, or if it had just gone bad. The label was weird, but maybe because I was reading by the night-light. It didn’t look like something you would buy for a baby, but it read:
BABY FORMULA: No Artificial Ingredients
Well, this must be it, so I looked at the label, made it as quickly as possible and put the lid back on the formula can, making sure it was tight enough that the putrid stench couldn’t escape.
“Okay, Miss Megan. I got your bottle. Are you hungry? Is that it?”
I picked her up and could swear she said yes, only it sounded like a hiss. I figured she was just sighing.
Cradling her in my left arm, I used my right hand to feed her. And suddenly, I felt a nip on my right thumb! Weird. I didn’t think babies had teeth. I moved my hand higher on the bottle so it wouldn’t happen again.
It was time to burp her now. I had done it once before, so I threw a towel over my shoulder and propped her up. As I was patting her back, I felt that same nip I had felt on my thumb, but this time it was on my neck. I yelled in pain, careful not to disturb her too much. So, I switched shoulders to investigate.
Nothing on my shirt that could have caused it. No sticker burrs. No safety pins. Nothing on the towel or in her blanket. And as I inspected my clothes and everything around me to make sure it wasn’t a spider or some other kinda creepy-crawly, I felt that nip again. Right on my ear on the side I had switched Megan to. And this time, the pain didn’t stop.
I screamed, trying to figure out what it was. I tried to pull the baby away. And that’s when I realized…the baby had latched on and wasn’t about to let go.
Mom and Dad came running and Mom flipped on the light. They looked panicked and when they saw what was happening, they managed to pull the baby from my bleeding ear.
“Oh, Josh! Are you okay, honey?” Mom asked, taking a close look at my injury.
“She bit me!” I cried angrily. “I told you something wasn’t right with her!”
Mom cleaned my ear with a fresh wash rag that was meant for Megan. She looked at me with worry in her eyes, and then she looked away.
“It’s about time we told him,” said Dad.
Mom sighed. “All right. Josh, we had meant to tell you one day. But things seemed too perfect and we didn’t know how you would react.” She was silent for a while.
“What? What is it?” I was curious now. The pain in my ear had subsided and I felt an urgency to know this secret they had kept from me.
“We’re not from here. We came from another realm. Oh, it’s a dark, dark place. We were invited through a Ouija board, and the portal was eventually closed and there was no way we could go back, even if we wanted to. Not that we wanted to. We were able to take the form of whatever we wanted, so we thought we would try blending in with the people. We decided to have a family.”
“What does this have to do with anything?” I said impatiently.
“You’re adopted,” my father said matter-of-factly.
“Then where did I come from?”
“The couple with the Ouija board. They had promised us their first-born child as an offering.” Mom looked away as she spoke.
My eyes were wide with disbelief. “An offering?”
“That’s just the way it works,” said Dad. “But look at the way things are now? Things are great! We don’t feel the craving for human flesh or blood anymore.”
“But it looks like we need to teach the new baby not to bite people. What happens when I take her to the park and she has to play with other children? Or when she’s at school and her teacher gets too close?” Mom was worried. If I could still call her ‘Mom’.
So there I had the answer. Something was wrong, and it wasn’t with the baby. There was something wrong with me. How could I ever live up to the expectations of my parents with the new baby around? I was nothing like her. I would probably never be as smart or as strong. It was that night, at only a month old, she said my name clear as a bell. “Josh!” she yelled, standing on her tip-toes in her crib, pointing at me. “Josh!” she said again, giving a high-pitched giggle. My parents both got so excited that I felt invisible for the first time since the baby had arrived. Mom took a minute to explain to her that she was not to bite people, she had “special” food. Mom held up the bottle, and now I had a feeling I knew what that strange stench was that came from the can of formula. Even though I had an inkling, I didn’t want to know for sure.
I told my parents goodnight, even though I wasn’t sure if they’d heard me with Megan laughing and talking. “Goodnight, Josh,” I heard Megan say. As I turned to look at her, I got a glimpse of a pair of fangs and her glistening eyes, a pair of eyes that settled upon me. “Sleep tight!” Then she laughed again, her trademark squealing happy laugh. The last thing I saw was my baby sister holding onto the bars of the crib, bouncing up and down and throwing her head back, giggling. Her fangs seemed to glow from the light of the full moon coming through the window.
I left the room. I wasn’t a part of this family. I wondered if my parents loved me when I was a baby as much as they loved Megan now. How could monster parents love a human kid? Would they ever be as proud of me as they are of her? From what I had seen that night, I understood that monster babies must grow at a much faster rate than human babies. I could only imagine what she’d be like at six months. Or a year. Or the “Terrible Twos” everyone has warned me about. I shuddered at the thought.
No, I could never really be part of this family. And I realised how true that was when I shut my bedroom door, and pushed the dresser in front of it.