Uncontrollable! Dangerous! Do not approach!

Writing prompt:

Uncontrollable! Dangerous! Do not approach! These words were plastered across every news feeds.


Uncontrollable! Dangerous! Do not approach! These words were plastered across every news feeds.

“What is that?” she asked leaning closer to the screen.

“Hey! Honey, you make a lousy window!” One of the patrons behind her barked.

She scooted back out of the way but continued to stare at the screen. She couldn’t make out the image under the words. It was too blurry.

“Ruby!” The head bartender snapped making her jump. He shoved a tray of glasses surrounding a pitcher of beer into her hands nearly spilling the golden liquid. Quickly balancing the tray, she hustled over to the corner booth. Four business men in suits looked up as she stopped by their table.

“Damn scientists.” One of the men muttered.

“Scientists?” Another countered, “It’s those self-righteous activists’ fault.”

She set the tray down and started to pass out the glasses.

“You’d think they’d be a little more circumspect before bursting in and releasing dangerous animals like that.” A third man in an expensive suit leaned back as she filled his glass.

“Eco-terrorists are not known for thinking anything through.” The first man scoffed.

“I heard they weren’t animals. I heard they were some kind of engineered weapon.”

Ruby slowed down a little trying to stay for the conversation.

“I hear they were some kind of mutation grown in the lab.”

“All the more reason to leave them there.” The well-dressed man frowned.

“Still, “The second man added. “What kind of experiment were they doing? Sounds a little creepy to me.”

Ruby ran out of glasses to fill. She couldn’t stay any longer. She picked up her tray and went back to the bar.

“Go take your break.” The bartender jerked his head toward the back.

Ruby nodded more than happy to get a moment away. She grabbed her phone and disappeared through the alley door. Quickly she found her normal seat on the broken cinder block and started Googling the news story.

That’s when she heard the growl. She looked up from her phone wondering if she had imagined it, but she heard it again. It came from behind the dumpster.  It was low and guttural. It sang to her primal survival instincts.  She kept trying to tell herself it was a dog or something, but deep down she knew it was the thing on the news. Slowly she came to her feet. She edged back toward the door behind her but before she could escape to the safety of the bar the growling thing stepped out. She froze staring in surprised at the child. Its hair was ragged and scraggly. She wasn’t even sure if it was girl or a boy. Its eyes were huge and sad like a doll’s. There was something appealing about it. Part of her wanted to run to it and scoop it up and tell it that it would be all right. Its sad eyes drew her in tugging on her heart strings. It was a child not some beast to be hunted. Anyone would see it and want to help and protect it.

However, part of her wanted to stay as far away as possible. There was blood staining its already dirty clothes.  She had heard it growl. She knew it wasn’t just a child. Everything in her screamed RUN!

Before she could follow that instinct, it surged forward. Running straight for her, it bared its teeth.

Ruby screamed.

Her phone fell to the pavement. The screen cracked but Google stayed open displaying a picture of the child with the caption warning: Dangerous! Uncontrollable! Do not approach!


Writing Prompt: Tunnel Patrol


Tunnel Patrol

“This is the worst job I the world.” Peter mumbled as his boots sloshed and squished through the rancid black water covering the bottom of the tunnel. It had been running at one time but Peter always suspected that after trying to flow down the pipe it had lost its motivation after about 50 yards and decided to try stagnation.

“Anything in tunnel 5?” Peter’s radio crackled echoing off the metal walls.

Sighing he pulled his radio off his belt. “Nope”

“Nothing in 7 either.” His supervisor replied. “Keep going.”

Peter replaced the radio and sloshed forward again. His foot kicked something that he really didn’t want to identify.

“Join the Tunnel Patrol,” he mimicked his girlfriend’s squeaky voice. “It’s a great opportunity. Yeah right, Cara, you’re not the one getting goo in your boots.”

A few more steps and Peter stopped suddenly. Had there been a sound? He listened harder but there were no sounds that hadn’t been there already. He waited 30 more seconds then picked his foot up to take a step.

He heard it this time, a rustling vibration coming from the darkness of the tunnel in front of him.

Peter froze. His heart set up its own vibration as the sound resonated again.

Slowly he reached for his radio. He keyed the mike. “Bobby?” He whispered. “Bobby! There’s something here.”

“Say again?” He supervisor’s voice blasted out. Peter slapped a hand over the speaker and stared into the darkness hoping it hadn’t heard him. But hope wasn’t in the tunnel anymore.

The rustling started again grating ever louder. The tunnel floor started to vibrate sending droplets of stagnate water splattering. It was coming.

Writing Prompt: The Camera Adds…


The writing prompt this week was…

I play back the recording but what I saw on the screen wasn’t what I remembered.

Once again 15 minutes of writing. Let’s see what you get. Leave a link or paste it in the comments.

Here’s is what I wrote.

The Camera Adds…

I play back the recording but what I saw on the screen wasn’t what I remembered.

It was just her and I when we filmed the interview. She had sat in the chair under the lights and I had sat just out of camera view. The interview had been a simple Q&A nothing fancy. I was getting the lowdown on the new research facility. So many people in the community were against the opening of the Cross Corp that my producer wanted a comprehensive info spot just to settle the rumors.

Betty Miles was an ordinary research scientist but she had a face the camera would love. So Cross Corp had sent her over. The interview had been quick and professional but now as I review the tape I am disturbed.

I watch Betty nod and answer questions but something seems to be there with her. I lean closer squinting at the screen doubting my eyes. I wasn’t sure if it was a trick of the light or maybe a bad placement of the camera. I was about to stop and call Betty back to reshoot when the shadow moved.

I shake my head. I had to be seeing things. I rewind the tape squinting at the shadow.

Just as Betty smiles it moves. I jump. This is impossible! I watch it again: same smile-same shadow movement.

I slow the tape to watch it again. I pause it just as Betty smiles. There it is, a shadow shifting behind her right shoulder. It is human shaped. A distinct head and shoulders are visible. I zoom in on the image but it becomes too distorted. I zoom back out and punch play again letting the interview play out. I keep my eyes on the shadow.  It hovers just over her right shoulder for most of the interview but as we bring the Q&A to a close the shadow starts shifting closer to the camera. I lean forward curiously. Suddenly the shadow rushes forward at the camera. I jump back reflexively.

Then it is gone. I move forward and stretch out a shaking hand feeling silly. I push the rewind button. I had to be hallucinating. I press play and watch the slow-motion movement of the shadow as it reaches the camera.

There is a face. My heart pumps as if I’d been running for my life. A face. There’s a face. What the Hell did the camera catch that Betty and I hadn’t even know was there?

The Universe makes a suggestion

Just when I’ve started to give up, when I started thinking that everything I’m doing to be a published writer is in vain…the Universe makes a suggestion.
I never thought of myself as a Horror writer. I still don’t. I’ve never really read Horror books. I always thought that I had enough problems without trying to scare myself.
To me Horror is blood and gore, ghosts and creepy things in closets, but perhaps I’m being too narrow minded.
Perhaps Horror is simply shedding light on those things which keep us up at night. Those little fears that get bigger as you ignore them.
Most people who read my short stories usually have the same reaction.
“Wow, that was dark!”
I don’t mean to be. It just happens. I see what could happen that is slightly not the normal route and take it. I follow the story in its truism and never contrive happy endings. The world isn’t full of happy endings, it’s full of reality. And that is scary.
So when it was suggested that I market my book as a Horror I flinched. My husband says that if I ever wrote my dreams into stories I would rival Stephen King. I don’t want to set out to scare people but maybe that’s where I’m supposed to go. I’ve always been fascinated by what disastrous or desperate events can do to people or what it will make people do. There is no darkness without light. It’s intriguing what happens when the balance shifts.
Maybe I should just go for it! But then if I do I have to make that commitment and not pull any punches. If it’s one thing I learned in acting class it’s “Raise the stakes!” I also need to read some Horror books. I hope my psyche is stable enough to handle it!
I guess the only way to find out is to take the plunge and see what happens.