When I first heard the term “drabble”, I had no idea what the hell it meant. I soon learned it was a form of fiction where the one rule is to tell a story in exactly 100 words. Not 99 or 101, it has to be an even hundred.
Curious, I played around with the idea and soon found out it was fun! I enjoyed the challenge of trying to get a story down in so short a format.
I wound up submitting a bunch of these to the good folks over at the Horror Tree website (horrortree.com), where they found their way into the weekly Trembling With Fear columns. Quite a few of them, as well as some traditional short stories, also made their way into the yearly anthologies that Horror Tree publishes every year.
I thought I’d put some of them up here, just for shits and giggles…
End Of Watch
The suspect came at me so I drew my Glock and fired three, right into center mass.
He didn’t flinch. Must be wearing a vest, I thought, and getting closer. I aimed carefully and fired one more, dead center in his forehead.
The bullet hit and crushed flat against his head without penetrating. As I watched, the lead liquified, his skin seeming to absorb the metal without leaving a mark.
He grinned then, a feral grimace that never touched his eyes, and closed the gap between us.
I barely had time to put the gun against my temple before he…
Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!
Jerry Springer: “Welcome to the show, Tom. What’s going on?”
Tom: “Well Jerry, I’m here to confess to my wife. I ran into my ex the other day, one thing led to another, and we wound up having sex.”
Jerry Springer: “Oh boy, I bet she’s not gonna be happy when she finds out about that!”
Tom: “Oh hell no, she won’t. She might be almost as angry as the cops were.”
Jerry Springer: “The cops? Why would you having sex with your ex make the police angry?”
Tom: “Well, they said I was only supposed to identify the body…”
The random patter of rain on the windows in counterpoint to the steady tick of the wall clock should make for a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere in my living room, yet instead creates an air of tension and unease… but why?
This is a late summer rain, no storm or winds, no reason to take shelter, so why am I looking over my shoulder for shadows that aren’t there?
Why do I keep glancing at the door, as though expecting it to burst open, an intruder dashing in?
Well, let him.
I have room for one more body out back.
To Sleep, Perchance To Dream…
The funeral had been exhausting, but Angela couldn’t sleep. Her fears and questions about her future swirled through her mind, not allowing the rest she needed.
When the bedroom door opened and her husband walked in, she sat up, shaking her head in disbelief as she spoke.
“Walt, I… I just buried you.”
He slipped his shirt off, the Y shaped incision from his autopsy starkly contrasting his pale skin in the dim light from the streetlight outside. He leaned over and kissed her forehead with cold, dry lips, then whispered softly in her ear.
“You can’t kill the bogeyman…”
My eyes opened, the clock on the DVR reading 3:01. The screen saver danced on the screen because I’d fallen asleep in the chair again.
I clicked the remote and the TV went dark. Checked the door locks and headed to the bathroom, and then a stealthy entry into the bedroom, being careful not to wake my sleeping wife.
I quickly stripped and slid beneath the sheet, my right foot hanging off the side. As I slipped my glasses off, the clock on the bureau moved from 3:14 to 3:15.
Something cold and wet slowly encircled my bare foot…
Edgar sat at his desk and opened his journal. He picked up the pen he’d been gifted, delighted at how perfectly it fit his hand.
He began, planning to apologize for the wrongs he’d committed and the people he’d hurt throughout the years.
He wrote throughout the night, pausing occasionally to visit his bathroom, always reluctant to set the pen down, out of his touch.
As the sky lightened, the pen began to skip, running out of ink, and when he wrote the final “Sorry” on the page, the pen ran dry and Edgar collapsed to the floor, stone dead.
The cushion wheezed as he sat, the stool groaning when he turned to face the counter. Like every other diner on every other road, this one looked as though they’d long ago given up trying to clean. Instead, every surface had the luster of buffed grease, from the sculpted aluminum panels on the walls to his cup and spoon on the counter. Hell, even the paper napkin felt greasy.
He stubbed his cigarette out in a small ashtray, little sparks popping.
“Right witcha, hun,” the waitress said through a weary smile. He nodded as he opened his straight razor.
There is something ethereal about the air in early Spring. It’s cool on the skin, but pleasantly so. The cold bite of Winter is gone, leaving a refreshing, cleansing feel to the breeze. Birds chirping, occasionally interrupted by stuttering lawn mowers trying to start for the first time in months. The engines of small aircraft flying overhead as students take to the air while small feet in sneakers slap the sidewalk in outdoor play, along with happy laughter.
Of course, that was all before the plague began, and we had to close our windows against the cloying stench of death.
The whisper of legs in white stockings approaching the bed. A 50s era bullet bra thrusts twin peaks against the starched nurse’s whites as her cool hand rests on my forehead. Her ice blue eyes move as she scans my chart before treating me to a gentle smile and a soft, soothing voice.
“Can I get you anything, dear? Maybe a sip of water?”
“How about some shaved ice? I’m awfully warm.”
“I know, sweetie and I’m sorry, but we don’t have ice here.”
“Here? Why’s there no ice in a hospital?”
“A hospital?” she grinned, revealing long, sharp teeth.
Mother’s Little Angel
Tanya yawned deeply as she closed the book on her lap. She opened her eyes to look at the wall clock, and saw the silhouette filling the doorway.
“Damn you, Roger… get out! Didn’t you get the restraining order?”
“Oh, I got it. And I’m leaving right after this.”
The hulking man walked into the room and snapped open a switchblade but suddenly stopped, frozen in place.
6-year-old Katrina stood in that doorway now, clenching her fists as Roger rammed his knife through his own eye into his brain, dropping heavily to the floor.
Katrina giggled as her mother smiled.