Here’s a bit from the second scene of the horror story I’m working on. It’s kinda creepy, I think, but I don’t know if it qualifies as horror. I’ll just have to finish it, edit it, polish it, and submit it, and see if it gets accepted.
He stood as the older boy, named Tanner after Tom’s lost cousin, shrieked and vanished into the water. Barb stood with him and hugged him as Tanner surfaced, laughing and splashing his younger brother, Nolan.
Tom’s voice was harsh as he said, “I wish they wouldn’t do that. I’ve told them not to do that.”
Barb stroked his back. “That’s it,” she said. “That’s what’s wrong.”
“What’s what’s wrong?”
“How old was your cousin when he drowned saving you?”
“And how old is Nolan?”
“You were the same way the summer Tanner turned ten.”
“I was? Worse?”
“You had nightmares. Remember? You slept on the couch for a week because you were thrashing around.” She demonstrated, drawing a tiny chuckle, before his eyes went back to the boys.
“Maybe that’s it.”
“Speaking of nightmares: Look at that poor child. Bless her heart, Laura’s making friends with him.”
“I’m watching the boys. Point him out to me later.”
“I won’t have to. You can’t miss him. He must have some kind of condition or something. His skin is all blotchy, and he’s wearing a hat in the swimming pool, and – you hate to say it of a child, but – oh, my, the poor thing is ugly.”
The muscle memory of lungs filling with creek water doubled Tom over. He gagged. Cold and hot, he swivelled toward his four-year-old daughter.
“Get the boys,” he croaked. “Get them away from the water.”
He was four. He was terrified. He wanted to get away. But he ran toward his horror, toward his child.
The boy standing next to her, in baggy trunks, baggy shirt, and a brimless cap, was just as he remembered, just as he dreamed. Tanner – his cousin, Tanner – kicking and pushing, inadvertently freeing him from the boy’s grip – that had been real. It had been real.
Tom scooped his daughter up and away. She whooped a laugh and waved her doll, sprinkling crystal drops from its chlorinated hair.
The boy was gone.
Tom clutched Laura tightly.
“Ouch, Daddy Bear! Too tight!”
“Sorry, baby. Sorry. That was a bad boy.”
“You know that boy?”
“A little.” He sloshed up the steps out of the pool.
“He’s crazy. I said, ‘There’s my daddy,’ and he said, ‘He’s mine.’ You’re not his daddy!”
“No. He is crazy. And he’s not really a boy. If you ever see him again, run away.”
“Stranger danger,” said Laura.
I’m almost finished with this story. It looks like it’ll be around 5,000 words. This has been hard to write, for some reason. Oh, who am I kidding? Writing is almost always hard for me. ‘Cause I’m lazy, that’s why.
By the way, there are excerpts of all my novels and lots of my short stories here on the blog. Just click up there on the links, or over there on the sidebar. There are links to free stories, too, on the Free Reads page. You’re welcome.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write a story in a genre you don’t much like. Go on. It’ll be good for you. Builds character.