Monday, April 29, 2019

A Troll Story

“It’s too late to apologize.”

I stared up at Shyll, my eyes narrowing. The creep glared down at me, his huge hook nose threatening to drip snot on me, if he didn’t wipe it soon. I couldn’t believe I had gotten this kind of reaction from the burly goon.

“Shyll, please get hold of yourself,” I said. Big mistake. The big lug reached down, wrapped his meat hooks around my waist and lifted me into the air.

“You get hold of yourself,” he growled, flinging spittle in my face.

Refusing to back down, I grabbed a handful of his green shirt, which was stained with something…I really didn’t want to know what, and wiped my face.  Wrinkling my nose I glared daggers. “What the hell did you eat for breakfast, a goat?”

“You insulted me,” he said, refusing to be distracted.

“I did no such thing.”

“You called me an evil little troll.”

“You are a troll,” I said. “Or did you miss that the last time you looked in the mirror?”

“But I’m not little,” Shyll said, pulling himself up to his full height. He wasn’t either. Shyll was a respectable 8 feet,  or somewhere in the vicinity, but his brothers were ten feet and his sister was nearly eleven. As far as troll’s went, Shyll was a shorty.

“I’m sorry,” I apologized. “I shouldn’t have disparaged your height.”

Shyll looked at me, still not willing to forgive. “And I am not evil.”

“Shyll, what did you have for breakfast?’

He didn’t answer right away, looking away a bit sheepishly.


“That old woman with all those kids.”

“The one that lives in the shoe?”


“Wouldn’t you think that qualifies you as being evil?”

“She stole my shoe!”

“True,” I said, “she should have asked, but the last shoe she lived in was falling apart and you weren’t using it anymore. Didn’t you just buy new shoes from the cobbler?”

“It was still my shoe.”

“Conceded,” I said. “But now what are those kids going to do? You ate their mother…and no, you cannot eat them for dessert.”

“Remind me again why I don’t eat you?”

“Because we are friends Shyll and friends don’t eat friends.”

“I think it’s because you sing such beautiful songs.”

“That too,” I sighed as he sat me back down. “Gently,” I cautioned. The big oaf nearly put a scratch in my gold finish.

“Play,” he said, ignoring me. He obviously wasn’t concerned about incurring my wrath. Wrapping my fingers around the strings of my harp, I sang a sweet tune, one that I knew was his favorite. My thoughts drifted to Jack, the boy that had tried to rescue me from my captivity. I wondered if he had managed to escape with the goose.  In the corner, Shyll picked up an old bone and cleaned between his teeth, dislodging a finger I thought I recognized as the cobblers. I guess he didn’t like the new shoes as much as I had hoped.

Word Count: 500


Sunday, April 28, 2019


"Mom, why can't I go? Everyone else is going to be there. Tina's bringing some makeup her mom bought her when they were in Paris."

"That's the whole point, Karen, everyone's going to be there ... Including Jenny Baker."

"Mom, that's not fair. Jenny's never done anything wrong. I don't know why you don't like her."

"You're right, she is a sweet girl,and it's not Jenny I have a problem with; it's her mother.  And no, it's not fair, but it's what it is.  Quite frankly, I'm surprised Cheryl's mom is even allowing her to come for the sleepover. I know Cheryl and Jenny are cousins, but Donna Owens always seemed more rational than her sister."

Karen rolled her eyes. "Mom, we're in school with her all day, a sleepover isn't that big of a deal."

"A sleepover is a huge deal. If Jenny is infected, the symptoms will most likely manifest during the night. That's why they allow her to go to school,  even though she hasn't been vaccinated ... Despite the risks ... And train the teachers to recognize early warning signs."

"Mom, she's not infected. No one is. There hasn't been an outbreak in 15 years."

"No,"  Alicia Turner said, quickly and firmly cutting her daughter off. "I may not have a say about her going to school with you, but I do about this. The virus is still out there. The reason we don't see outbreaks anymore is because of vaccines. Every parent that chooses not to vaccinate, puts us all at risk."

"That's not fair ..."

"You didn't live through it. If you had, you'd understand. I was pregnant with you at the time, and when  they came out with a vaccine, everyone lined up. I didn't know what the vaccine would do ... If it would cause birth defects or not, but the alternative was so much worse.  Fifteen years, people are forgetting. There was an incident in  Navarre a few weeks ago ..."

"Mom, that was nothing. A case of tetanus, and the boy didn't die."

"It wasn't tetanus, I don't care what they say. The government isn't going to cause a panic by telling people the truth."

"Now you sound like Jenny's mom," Karen laughed. "You can't trust the government. They're poisoning our kids, fake science, it's all a conspiracy."

"Well, that's one thing we can agree on. You can't trust the government. All that other crap though ... Your dad died during the initial outbreak. I won't lose you too."

Karen took a look back at her bed before climbing out her window. She thought the pillows under the blanket looked enough like a sleeping body that her mom might not notice. It was dark. Lord help her if her mother did find out though. Maybe she shouldn't go ... No. She was tired of never being allowed to do anything. Everyone has decisions to make, but no one ever consulted her, even though they affected her life.

Karen slipped out the window and crawled on the ground past the living room window.  She could hear the TV ... Some chick flick her mom and John were watching. Since it was date night, and John had shown up with a bottle of wine, maybe her mom wouldn't think to check on her. Once past the living room, Karen stood and ran until she was out of sight of the house.


"Here, try this ..." Tina handed a tube of pink lipstick to Jenny and smiled approvingly as her friend applied it to her lips. "That looks good on you, Jen. You should wear makeup more often."

Jenny shook her head. "My mom won't let me. She says 15 is too young ... And chemicals."

"Your mom's pretty strict, isn't she? I'm surprised she let you come tonight."

Jenny shrugged. "She's not too bad. She just worries about me. Don't most parents though?"

"Truth," Karen said, thinking of her own mom. She wondered if her mom had looked in on her yet. The phone had rung earlier and she'd flinched, expecting Mrs. Owens to come into Cheryl's room and tell her she had to go home.

"Some more than others," Tina said. "My mom pretty much let's me do what I want. When we were in Paris, she let me go out without her all the time."

"That's not necessarily a good thing," Cheryl said. They all knew Tina's mom had a drinking problem and had probably spent the entire trip drunk. Tina was known for doing some really bizarre things just to get her mother's attention. She would have gone to juvie last year, if Cheryl's mom hadn't stepped in.

Tina looked uncomfortable for a moment, but then her face lit up. Karen's stomach knotted. She recognized that look. Tina wanted the spotlight off of her and was about to put it on someone else. She didn't disappoint.

"Did you hear what happened in Nevarre?" She glanced out of the corner of her eye at Jenny, waiting to see her reaction. Everyone else looked too.

"It was just tetanus," Karen said, hoping rhe others would take the hint and move on to a different topic.

"No," Tina said. "My mom is dating a doctor who works in the hospital there, and he said it was the NZ-T1 virus."

"Oh he did not," Karen said.

"Well he said it could have been. These parents who won't vaccinate their kids are playing Russian Roulette. It might have just been tetanus, but it could have easily been something that would infect us all."

"The NZ-T1 isn't around anymore," Jenny said. She stood up and crossed the room to look out the window.

"Well, not that the government would let is know," Tina said. "Isn't that what your mom says, that the government lies to us all the time?"

"Stop it," Karen said. "Why do you have to be so mean sometimes?"

"I don't know," Tina said.  "I'm defective, I guess."

"Weren't you in Nevarre last week?" Cheryl asked Jenny.

"Yes. Visiting my Aunt. There was no outbreak. The government isn't covering anything up. My mom's just nuts."

"What would you do though if there were any outbreak? You aren't vaccinated ... You'd be at risk." Tina didn't sound like she was trying to be mean, she just sounded concerned for her friend.

"We'd all be at risk," Cheryl said, "just in a different way."

"Why are we talking about this," Karen asked. "I came to have fun and try on makeup."


Alicia opened her daughter's bedroom door to check on her. It was late, and she expected her to be in bed, but she was too quiet. Karen made little sounds when she slept. There was nothing. She turned on the light. Her eyes narrowed when she saw the bed. She knew the difference between pillows and a sleeping teenager.  She grabbed her keys off the kitchen table and yelled to John that she'd be right back.


The 4 girls were intending to stay up all night. After making their faces up, they'd watched a horror movie and finished off the pizza and chips. One by one they began to nod off. Cheryl and Jenny were on Cheryl's bed, Tina was sacked out on the floor, and Karen had wandered into the living room to crash on the couch. She woke to a banging on the door. Her stomach sank. She knew it was her mom. Who else would be there at 2 in the morning?

"I can't believe you," her mother said, following Donna Owens into the living room.

"I had no idea she wasn't supposed to be here," Donna said. "I would have called you if I'd known."

"I'll go get my bag." Karen left the living room. Following the hallway to Cheryl's room, her stomach knotted even more. There was a strange noise coming from the room; a low, almost gutteral sound. Karen thought of the feral cat that had gotten caught in the crawl space under their house. She opened the door, turned on the light and screamed.

Cheryl was curled in a ball on the bed. Every bit of her was covered in blood. On the floor, Jenny was bent over Tina, eating huge chunks of her flesh. Tina's eyes were wide open, but there was no life left in them. Jenny pushed herself off the floor, launching herself at Karen. The teenager froze, too terrified to move. She'd never seen a zombie before. She'd read about them of course, in history books. She got the vaccine, so she would never turn, even if bitten by a zombie ... But the vaccine worked. There were no more zombies. The NZ-T1 virus was gone. The danger was over. There were no more outbreaks. She was dreaming. The pizza, it didn't settle well, and then worrying about her mother finding out she had snuck out of the house,  and all the talk about Nevarre ... That was it, she was dreaming.

Just before Jenny reached Karen, Alicia pulled her daughter out of the way, slamming her into the hallway wall, possibly yanking her arm our of the socket, but she would live. Alicia pulled the knife out of her pocket that she always carried, and slammed the blade into Jenny's head. Jenny's face relaxed, no longer snarling, and the girl dropped to the ground. Behind her, Cheryl's mother screamed as she caught sight of her daughter's lifeless body as it began to move on the bed. She'd been vaccinated. She shouldn't be turning. Cheryl launched herself at the door and onto her mother.

The next day the newspaper ran a story about an animal attack. The government strongly cautioned Alicia and Karen not to speak the truth ... and explained what would happen to them if they did. They couldn't panick the public. They thought they were safe. If they knew the truth, that the NZ-T1 virus was still active and that the vaccine wasn't affective on a small percentage of the population, there would be mass hysteria. That's why they didn't force the fringe conspiracy nuts to vaccinate their kids; that way if there was another outbreak, there'd be someone to blame.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Bob, The Boogie Monster

It was dark in the tiny room. Bob sat there holding his head in his hands, listening to the tiny arguments that were ensuing outside. Andy didn’t want to go to bed. There was either a monster under his bed, or in his closet. Or maybe there were two monsters! In either case, Andy wasn't going to go to bed without arguing his case.
“It wants to eat me,” Andy insisted, as his mother ushered him into the room.
“I am sure no monster would ever eat you,” his mother insisted, “and if he did, he would spit you right back out.”
Behind her, his brother laughed. Andy shot him a dirty look. “You just wait Joe, I bet there’s one in your closet too!”
“Oooh, I’m so scared.” Joe waved his hands in front of his face and pretended to be frightened.
“Joe, that’s enough,” his mother said. “Now get to bed.”
“But it’s only eight o’clock! Why do I have to go to bed at the baby’s bedtime?”
“I’m not a baby!” Andy balled up his fist and punched Joe in the gut.”
 Tossing Andy into his room, their mother turned towards Joe and sighed. “Because you told him a scary story. You know how easily he gets frightened…”
“But it’s fun scaring him.”
“He’s your brother, you are supposed to watch out for him, not torture him. Now off to bed.”
Grumbling under his breath, Joe stomped off to his bedroom and slammed the door. Bob jumped at the noise and then shook his head. This kid lacked subtlety; that would have to be trained out of him. He listened to the sound of Joe’s feet shuffling across the floor and grinned. The show was about to begin.
 Stepping inside his closet, Joe pushed his clothes out of the way, revealing a small hole in the wall. Through it, he could see Andy lying in his bed. His blanket was pulled up over his head, as though the cover created a force field around him. Joe snickered, reaching for the remote on his shelf. Aiming it through the hole, he turned his brother’s SpongeBob Television on. Andy sat straight up, his eyes wide as saucers. Joe pushed another button and turned the volume all the way up. Andy scooted towards the top of his bed, pressing his back against the headboard and pulling the blanket to just below his eyes. A few seconds later the bedroom door banged open and their mother marched in.
“What part of go to sleep don’t you understand,” she asked, shutting off the T.V.
“I didn’t turn it on! It was a ghost.”
“Honestly, I would think you could come up with a better excuse than that. Blame it on your brother or something…” Mother’s voice trailed off as a light bulb went on over her head. In the room next door she heard a scraping sound, like the closet door being shut.
“But I didn’t do it!”
“I’m sure you didn’t.” Walking out of the room, the boy’s mother headed down the hall into the next room, where Joe was in his bed, snoring obnoxiously. Switching on the light, she watched as her son stretched and slowly opened his eyes.
Joe sat up and looked around, confused. “Waz up?”
“Where is it?”
“Where’s what?”
“Don’t play innocent with me. I know what you’ve been doing.” Opening his closet door, she stood on her tiptoes to see on top of the shelf. “Ah hah!”
Joe sat on his bed, plotting how he would get his revenge. If Andy wasn’t so scared of everything, he wouldn’t be in trouble, but now, just because he had played a few pranks on the little whiner, he was grounded for a week.
“Maybe I’ll put fire ants in his bed.”
“That will just get you in more trouble.”
“Who said that?” Joe looked around his room. He didn’t see anyone. It sounded like it came from his closet. “Andy, is that you?”
Joe opened up the closet, expecting to find Andy looking through the peephole. Instead, he found an orange furry creature standing there, literally holding his head in his hands.
“I’m sorry,” Bob said, holding his head up, “but I can’t get it back on. I’ve had trouble with it ever since the Jenny Christine incident”
“Ever since the what?” Joe backed out of the closet, hoping to make a run for it, but when he turned, the creature was there, blocking his way. He held his eyeballs in his hand and rolled them across the floor. Startled, Joe danced as the eyes whirled around him, tripping his feet and knocking him to the ground.
“We need to talk,” Bob said, bending over Joe and drooling on him.
“Who … who are you?”
“I’m Bob. Andy’s Boogie Monster.”
“I’ve been scaring this kid for a while now. He’s mine and I thought I had pretty good thing going. But then you come along and try to one up me.”
“I wasn’t trying to …”
“I know what you were doing kid and I respect it, really I do. You’ve got some good moves. But, you need some finesse. Lucky for you, I put in a good word. You’re in the program.”
“What program?”
“Why the Boogieman Training Program, of course. We’ve been short-handed, so they probably would have let you in anyway …especially after your demonstration of ability.”
“I don’t want to be a Boogieman,” Joe protested.
“You should have thought of that before you applied.”
“But I didn’t!” Joe was looking around the room, wondering if he was dreaming. Yeah, this had to be a dream.
“Just relax,” Bob said. “Come here, I want to show you something.”
Joe found himself following Bob into the closet. “This is insane,” he thought, as his feet moved across the floor.
“See that?” Bob was pointing to a dust bunny in the corner of the closet.
“It’s some dirt fuzz.”
“Nope,” Bob said. “It’s a portal to the Monster Realm.”
Smething hard hit him in the back and Joe felt himself falling forward. Putting his arms out to catch himself, he yelled out in surprise when the floor opened and he found himself falling through a hole.
“Well that takes care of that,” Bob said, shutting the closet. Standing in front of Joe’s mirror, Bob began to change his appearance. Gone was the orange fur, being replaced by pinkish skin and blue pajamas. Hearing feet coming down the hall, he set his head back on his shoulders and popped his eyeballs back in. They too had transformed, no longer red, but a sea foam green.
“Are you okay? I thought I heard you scream?”
Bob turned and looked at the mother. She looked tasty. Maybe when he was done scaring Andy, he would eat her.
“I’m fine,” Bob said, making sure to change his voice to sound like Joe. This was going to be fun.

Copyright © 2018 Lisa McCourt Hollar

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Zombie Reunification Act

“EWWW,” Tina squealed, staring at Mr. Sampson’s arm lying in the middle of the floor. The appendage had been dangling low for most of the day and some of the kids had been taking bets as to when it would fall off. Tommy Jordan cheered, yelling out the time of 1:42. He had said 1:45 and since his was the closest to the exact time, he was the winner.

Mr. Sampson stood there a moment looking at his arm, then shrugged his shoulder … the one still attached and bent to pick it up. The arm made a sucking sound as he lifted it off the ground. A trail of blood and gore was left behind on the floor, while some hung from the open cavity, dangling like strings of bloody thread.

“That is so gross,” Sissy Foreman said, looking away, but then peering back at the scene, disgusted and impressed at the same time.

Mr. Sampson grunted something to the class and then walked out of the room, presumably to the nurse’s office to have the limb reattached.

That was so awesome,” Tommy shouted, holding out his hand and collecting his winnings from his friends.

“It was disgusting,” Tina said, turning her dainty nose in the air. My mother called the school board and told them if they didn’t do something about Mr. Sampson she was going to pull me from the school and send me somewhere else.”

“Where would you go,” Sissy, her best friend asked, followed by gasps of “oh no’s,” from Karen Little and Susan Fynch.

“I don’t know,” Tina said, “maybe Allendale. I hear they don’t allow zombies to teach.”

“Really,” Frank Lawson asked. “I thought the Zombie Reunification Act said it was illegal to discriminate against zombies and half zombies.”

Tina sniffed, “The Zombie Reunification Act is bogus and should never have passed. It will be overturned. I heard the President was going to sign to have zombies banned from all aspects of society.”

“But that’s unconstitutional,” Jimmy Becker said, standing up with an angry look on his face. Rumor had it his mother was a zombie now. No one had seen her for weeks and Sissy’s mother worked at the butcher shop and she said Jimmy’s dad had come in last week and bought a whole cow, including the brains. Then he’d bought some pig brains and sheep brains as well.

“You’re just upset because that means your mommy will be sent to the slaughter house,” Tina sneered. “My mother says she was always a bit strange anyway.”

“My mom is NOT a zombie,” Jimmy snarled, clenching his fist and daring anyone to say otherwise. The kids all just laughed at him though, except for Missy Black. Her father was a zombie. She didn’t want anyone to know though. They might make fun of her too, so she just kept her head down and pretended to read her book. Her mom had told her they were probably going to move soon. There were places where zombies were accepted. Noy many though.

With the new medicine, most zombies were harmless. Every now and then one of them would forget to take their pill in the morning and go out and bite someone. No one wanted to risk shaking a zombies hand for fear he wouldn’t stop at shaking and rip their arm off, or take a nice healthy bite out of one of the fingers.  Missy’s dad had been working on a car when the owner decided her dad looked like a zombie treat and bit his head.  Now he had a hole on one side and Missy’s mom made him wear a hat to cover it up.

Mr. Sampson cleared his throat as he entered the room, bringing the class back to attention. His arm was reattached, but now his right ear was hanging a little lower than the left and his nose looked like it was a bit wobbly. There were also a few maggots wriggling around a sore on his cheek. Sissy and Tina both squealed and looked away while Missy and Jimmy smirked at them. Jimmy hoped one of their parents would get bit by a zombie, and then they would know how it felt to have a mother or father that ate brains and had strings of intestines hanging from their teeth.

Mr. Sampson turned and said something to the class. No one really understood what he was saying since it was mostly grunts and groans, but no one was really listening anyway. They were all staring at his nose, which was now turned sideways on his face.

“Double or nothing,” Frank whispered to Tommy, hoping to win his money back “which do you think will fall off first, Mr. Sampson’s ear or his nose?”

Copyright© 2018 Lisa McCourt Hollar.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Things That Go Bump In The Night

Tasha hid under her blanket, trying not to cry. She could hear her parents down the hall, laughing at whatever shows adults watch on television after the kids have gone to bed. It must be pretty funny, judging from the snorts that came out of her mother’s nose. At least Tasha hoped they were snorts coming out of her mother’s nose and not a monster with a piggish snout laughing maniacally as he chopped her family up into little pieces.

Somewhere Tasha heard a buzzsaw grind to life, ready to hack her ten year old body to pieces. She closed her eyes and whimpered. She didn’t want to call her parents in.  She didn’t want them to know she'd watched that movie they’d told her not to. And she knew if she called out, that as soon as they turned on her light, everything would go back to normal. Tasha tried to reason with herself. She knew the buzzing she heard was really her brother in the next room, snoring. He snored every night. It’s just that movie … she could still hear it in her head, “Jason, Jason, Jason … Kill, Kill, Kill,” over and over in her mind and that awful hockey mask. Who wears a hockey mask down by the lake anyway?

Her mother laughed in the living room, snorting … the buzz saw in the next room … a whisper from inside her closet.  A WHISPER FROM INSIDE HER CLOSET! There wasn’t anything in her closet that could make a sound!

Peering out from under her blanket, Tasha stared at the closet, her eyes penetrating the dark and detecting a slight crack in the door. It wasn’t shut … she always kept her closet shut.  Horrified, Tasha held her breath as the door creaked to life, inching open. Something was inside! The door only moved open a little and realistically Tasha knew it could be a breeze making the flimsy door sway …except there was no breeze. It was a chilly night and her window was closed.

The door creaked again and Tasha heard a whisper, almost like a cry of a child. Was it a ghost of a little girl who had been murdered in this house previously? Maybe she was coming back to exact revenge on her killers. Tasha’s imagination flew, one scenario after another coming to mind. Perhaps one of her dolls had been possessed by an evil spirit and was coming out to slaughter the entire family, a demonic glee in its painted eyes.

“Meow,” Bosco, her little black cat cried, pushing his head between the crack in the closet door. Tasha laughed at herself; Bosco must have hidden in there earlier and fallen asleep.

“Come here kitty,” Tasha called, pulling her cover back and allowing the cat to jump up there with her.  She was relieved to know there was nothing more sinister in her room and she felt better now that she had Bosco to keep her company.

Tasha pulled the covers off her head and lay back against the pillow with her cat cradled in her arms. She would go to sleep and forget about that movie.

Something made a sound under her bed. Tasha’s eyes popped open. Bosco lifted his head, looking around for the source of the noise. It was a snuffing sound. Bosco crawled towards the edge to investigate. Tasha snatched him back, holding him close, and her heart pounding inside of her chest.

“You can’t just go and look under the bed to see what it is,” Tasha scolded the cat. “What if it’s a monster that eats kitty cats?

Bosco meowed at her. “Yes, I know, Tasha said, it could very well be a monster that’s nice … I suppose those exist, but if it is nice, what is it doing under my bed?”

Bosco meowed his answer and under the bed the monster snuffed. Tasha held Bosco tightly. She was wondering if it was a monster that liked to eat little girls. She was glad she didn’t dangle her feet over the edge of the bed. Monsters that ate little girls liked their toes the most. Her Uncle Al had told her so. Her mother had yelled at him for telling her that and he’d laughed and said he was sorry, that it wasn’t true, but Tasha knew it was. Adults never wanted kids to know that monsters were real, but she knew they were.

The monster snuffed again and Tasha felt her bed bump from something hitting it from underneath.  Then it bumped again. Bosco meowed, a scared kitty meow and Tasha tried not to cry, but she was scared. Then her bed lifted up in the air, not the whole bed but the bottom half. It lifted off the ground and tipped the top half back, so that she thought she was going to fall off and land on the floor. She knew what would happen then.

Tasha screamed. She screamed as loud as she could, squeezing her eyes shut so she wouldn’t see the monster that wanted to eat her. She knew he would be big and hairy, with sharp teeth that resembled barbed wire and a mouth wide enough for her whole head to fit into.

Down the hall she heard her parents as they rushed to her room. She hoped they would get there in time. Then she heard something else. Someone was laughing and it sounded suspiciously like her sister. It was coming from under the bed. Did the monster eat her sister?  Then the lights came on and she opened her eyes. Jenny, was crawling out from under the bed, laughing so hard she had tears coming out of her eyes.

“What’s going on,” her mother asked.

“You should have heard her,” Jenny laughed. “She thought I was a monster.”

“What were you doing under her bed,” her dad asked, giving Jenny his stink eye.

“Oh come on, I was just having fun,” Jenny laughed.

After everything settled down and Jenny was sent back to her room, Tasha laid her head back on her pillow and closed her eyes. The closet door was shut again and the bedroom door cracked so the light from the hall could come in. She heard her mother laughing at the television and her brother’s snoring had resumed. She didn’t hear any noise and her eyes were shut so she never knew that a small, furry creature had slipped silently out her window. He was hungry and had thought the little girl’s toes smelled yummy, but her family was scary. And that cat with its teeth and scary growl were enough to give him nightmares for weeks. He would find some other place and another little girl to creep up on.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Witches Brew

Witches Brew
by Lisa McCourt Hollar

“Trick or treat!”

“Oh my,” Thelma said, looking over the trio of costumed children standing outside her door. “Don’t you look frightening. What are you supposed to be? Witches?”

“Yes ma’am,” snarled one of the hags, “and if you don’t give us a treat, I’ll turn you into a toad.”

"Oh my!" Thelma chuckled, “A toad! Well that would be a neat trick. And the three of you certainly look scary enough. Is that a wart on your nose?”

“Yes ma’am," the bigger of the three said. "All witches have warts.”

“Because they’re ugly, old hags,” another of the witches said. This one had a wart on both her nose and chin, making her truly hideous.

“I see. Well, I will have to remember that.”

The three witches giggled.

“Hmmm,” Thelma mused, “Trick OR Treat? Let's see ... I think I will go with ... trick. Turn me into a toad.”

“The first little witch laughed, “I can’t really do that.”

"You can’t?” Thelma sounded disappointed. Looking at the second witch she asked, “How about you?”

Shaking her head, the second witch giggled. Thelma looked to the third, a green faced hag with nary a wart, but long stringy hair and a long, crooked nose. The poser gave a nervous laugh and ducked her head.

“No? Too bad. I can though.” Thelma pointed a finger at the faux witches and chanted, “Skin of green with warts and all, eyes that bug, croaking call, hop you will instead of stand, become a toad at my command.”

“When the incantation was finished, three frightened toads sat outside her door. Before they could hop off, Thelma bent and scooped them into her hands. Closing the front door, she hummed, carrying them into the kitchen and depositing the toads into a cage.

“Let’s see,” she said, looking into a bucket that contained a handful of newts, “all I need now are a few lizards and rat tails. Then I will have everything I need for my skin lotion spell.”

Looking into the mirror, the witch shuddered. A wart was just beginning to pop, marring her previously unblemished skin. “If only this spell could be cast any time of the year, instead of All Hallows Eve.” Thelma sighed. “If only there were more beggars without their parents. Then I might be able to make more and I wouldn’t cut it so close every year.”

Thelma looked in the mirror again. Egads, another one was popping up and this one had a long black hair sticking out of the middle. She grabbed a small tube and squeezed out a thick cream. It was  the last of her stash. Thelma spread the anti wart potion on her skin. It also served to make her coloring less green and a little more pink.

“All witches have warts,” Thelma mimicked. “Witches are ugly old hags. Bah, I’ll show them ugly, the little brats!”

The witch smiled at her reflection. The warts had receded and she looked young and beautiful once again. “Just in time,” she cackled, turning to answer the door.

“Trick or treat,” sang a gang of werewolves and vampires.”

Word Count: 522

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Do-Over

Continued from Tartarus, Zombies, and Ne'er-Do-Wells
This is chapter 8 in my MG/YA Zombie series, You can read it from the beginning in Death and Zombies.

“Careless, worthless, good for nothing ...” Medusa paused, trying to think of another word to describe what she thought of her son losing his cloak and scythe.
“Ne’er-do-well,” Steve suggested.
“Ne’er-do-well,” Medusa finished. “I can’t believe you. What does this make, three times? What is Khronos going to say? You know he hates zombies.”
“Khronos isn’t going to say anything, because he isn’t going to know about it. I’ve got a plan.”
“He stole his watch thingy,” Jason said.
Medusa grinned at the plump boy and set a plate of cookies in front of him. “Such a sweet boy. Too bad you’re going to grow up into a man.” Then she turned to her son and shook her head. “So you’ve turned into a thief as well. Where did I go wrong?”
“Probably when you turned my father into stone. You deprived me of a good, male role model.”
“You know, Khronos put you on probation after the last zombie outbreak. Giltine is just itching to get her job back.”
“Mom, could you try having a little faith in me, just once?” Death pleaded.
“This is really kind of sad,” Daniel whispered to Darlene. “How old do you think he is?”
“I am 717 years old, give or take a century or two, and I can hear you.”
“Don’t you think you should get your own place?” Daniel asked. “It’s not very becoming for the Grim Reaper to be living in his mom’s basement.”
“I pay rent. And besides,” Death said, turning toward the previously zombified teen, “perhaps you should worry more about yourself and less about me. After all, I’m not the one who tried to make a snack out of the girl I like.”
“Darlene looked at Daniel, who was desperately trying to avoid eye contact. “You like me?” Darlene asked.
“Dude,” Steve laughed, “she likes you too. Trust me, she talks in her sleep.”
Now Darlene was trying to avoid eye contact. Death laughed. “Yeah, I’m the pathetic one. Now, if I could get my robe and scythe back … Halloween is almost over and there will be no do overs if I don’t have it fixed by then.”
“Here.” Steve set his backpack on the table and opened it up. He pulled out the robe and scythe. “I’m sorry. It would have made a great Halloween costume though.”
“So what do we do now?” Darlene asked.
“Enjoy the ride.”Death said.
“Will we remember what happened today?” Steve asked.
Death shrugged. “I don’t know. Probably not.”
Daniel grabbed hold of Darlene and kissed her. If they were going to forget this anyway …
Death opened the pocket watch and began to turn the hands, rewinding time.

Darlene was annoyed. Something was tickling her feet. She kicked her foot and rolled over, clutching her pillow. Darlene sighed, trying to get back into her dream. Daniel had been kissing her. She felt the tickle on her foot again. “Stop it,” she mumbled, tossing and kicking her foot again. This time something grabbed her foot and yanked. “What the …” Darlene opened up her eyes and screamed. Standing over her was a dark figure wearing a skull mask. She threw her pillow at it before she realized what was happening.
Steve pulled off his mask. “Come on Darlene, we’re going to be late. You can dream about kissing Daniel Griffen later.
“I don’t dream about kissing Daniel.”
 Steve picked up Darlene’s pillow and buried his face into it, “Oh, Daniel, kiss me again.”
“You better watch it, or I’ll tell Sheila Young that you have a crush on her.”
“Eww, I do not.”
“But she’ll think you do …” Darlene shut the bathroom door, a satisfied smile on her face. She looked in the mirror and frowned.
“Steve,” she called through the door. “Do you feel like we’ve done this before?”
Steve thought about it a second. “Yeah, kind of. Probably just deja vu.”
 “Who do you think is going to win best costume? It was Johnny Farmer last year. He went as a space pirate, but his parents were rich and put a lot of money into his costume. He had special effects and everything. I’m glad they moved. Now I just have regular kids to compete against. Death is a pretty good costume, doncha think so Darlene?”
“It’s ok,” Darlene said, coming out of the bathroom. Better than zombies. So overdone.”
“Death is the perfect costume for Halloween. I just wish I had more than this dollar mask mom bought me at the dollar store. I saw the perfect costume the other day. If I had that, I’d be sure to win the costume contest.”
“Mom and dad are doing the best they can. Be grateful for what you’ve got.”
The two headed into the kitchen to grab their things and leave. There was a bag on the table.
“What’s this?” Darlene asked. “It has your name on it.”
Steve opened the bag. Inside was a cloak and scythe.
“That’s not real is it?” Darlene asked, eyeballing the scythe.
“I don’t know. There’s a note.

You can borrow this for the Halloween contest. I want it back after.  Meet me at the tree.


          “The tree?” Darlene asked. She and Steve looked at each other, and then Darlene remembered her dream.
“The tree,” Steve said. They both laughed as they remembered their adventure. Then the two headed out the door, ready for whatever this Halloween would bring. Except zombies. They didn't want zombies.
         And zombies is exactly what they didn't get.