Unending

1

It was a dark and gloomy night. The rain poured heavily from the sky above, soaking Lincoln to his very core. Leftover pumpkins were scattered around the graveyard in order to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve the night before but he paid them no mind as he slipped through the rusted gate in front of him.

2

Raindrops stung his eyes as he frantically made his way through the moss covered stones then he finds the very one he sought. “My dear.” He whispered, falling to his knees. He traced his finger over the crude etching of her name. “Lenora Stine.” She’d been everything to him so long ago. Memories of her flooded his mind and soon he let out a wail of anguish that rapidly faded into the howling wind.

3

Twenty years had gone by since he’d last visited her final resting place. He swore he would return only when he had a plan…a plan to bring her home forever. He thrust his hands into the wet earth and began to dig furiously.

4

Hours passed as the hole grew deeper and wider then finally he struck something solid. “Soon, my dear. Soon.” He promised while he dragged the wooden coffin to the surface and cracked it open. He covered his face to escape the thick stench of death and studied her closely. Bits and pieces of his sweet Lenora’s flesh was missing but it was nothing he couldn’t patch up. He hummed her favorite tune while he loaded her remains into a threadbare sack then he took her to the basement of the church where his equipment still stood.

7

He assembled her on the slab and began sewing her back together. While he worked, his thoughts wandered to the past. The townsfolk had been unappreciative of the experiments that took place down there. Lincoln never truly understood their anger, everything he’d done had been for science! “Fools.” He muttered darkly and placed a sheet over Lenora’s mended body. In the end though, Lenora had been the one to pay for his atrocities.”You will want to forgive me once I restore your life, my dear.” He spoke with great confidence as he blew the dust from the buttons on his machine.

8

“A life that will be unending!” He roared over the lightning that struck the metal pole he’d carefully placed on the roof of the church. The current traveled down to the basement and ultimately charged up his odd contraption. The mechanical arm swung erratically while it shot electrical sparks into her corpse not once but twice before finally coming to a rest.

9

Lincoln yanked the sheet from Lenora’s body and waited. A moment passed and nothing happened. “Awaken!” He cried out with a ragged breath. Still nothing. “I beg of you…rise!” He commanded and to his relief her eyes popped open and she sat up. She gave him an eerie glance then slid off of the slab and stood.

10

A small gasp escaped Lincoln’s mouth while he gazed at her. “I knew it would work! I am a god among men!” He marveled at his own success. “Can you speak?” He wondered aloud. “Yes. I’m cold.” Her voice was dull and grating. “Oh, of course! Let’s get you dressed.” He opened his satchel and pulled out a long black gown. It had once been her favorite dress. He helped her into it then led her to the garden behind the church.

11

They sat in silence for a while. “Do you know who you are?” He peered at her in the dark. “Lenora Stine.” She replied knowingly. “I’m the daughter of a great inventor. Or a madman according to everyone else. When he refused to discontinue his nefarious research, a mob came for him. Instead they found me…and they tore me apart.” She turned her head towards him and whispered, “I remember everything.”

12

Lincoln reached out and cupped her cheek. “No one will ever be able to hurt you again, my dear. I promise.” Then he chuckled nervously and changed the subject. “How about a bite to eat, Lenora? I’m sure you’re famished.” She nodded her head eagerly and clutched his hand against her cheek. She was surprisingly strong. “I’m starving.” She rasped then she opened her mouth wide, showing off her jagged teeth before plunging them into his jugular vein. He bled out quickly and soon his vile gurgling ceased.

“No one will ever be able to hurt me again.” Lenora repeated though no one was listening. “Not even you, Papa.”

The End.

 

 

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How Fruitcake Saved Christmas

1

After Catherine placed the last ornament on the tree, she took a step back and admired her handiwork. “What do you think, babe?” She asked her husband Marty. “It looks great. Just like every year, Cat.” He reminded her. “I didn’t have a lot to work with this time since we’re out here. But it was so nice of my sister to offer her cabin to us for the holidays.” She glanced at the family photo on the fireplace and smiled. “We could’ve gone without the fruitcake she left behind for us though.” Marty wrinkled his nose in disgust which caused Cat to burst out laughing.

2

Then Cat looked out the window and noticed that some of her porch decorations had been blown away by the wind. “Marty, will you go outside and fix the decorations for me?” She stuck her lower lip out in a cute pout. “Please?”

3

“Baby, it’s snowing!” He complained grumpily. “Besides, they’ll just get knocked over again in a few minutes.” She gave him sad puppy dog eyes. She loved this time of year and everything had to be completely perfect. “Ugh. Fine. I’m going.” He groaned and got up. Cat squealed happily and kissed Marty on the cheek to thank him before he ducked outside into the cold.

4

Cat watched from the door with a satisfied grin as Marty put her things back in place. Then she saw it. There was something big in the backyard…hiding behind a tree. “Marty! There’s something out there! I think it’s a person! Go check! They’re probably freezing!” She urged him.

5

Marty sighed and stomped down the steps. “I don’t see anything!” He called back to her a few moments later. “It’s right behind you!” She stepped out to get a better look at it. She was wrong…it wasn’t a person at all! It was some sort of creature! “Marty!” She gasped and ran back inside of the house. “Come back! Hurry!”

6

Marty wiped his feet on the doormat when he came in then saw the fear on his wife’s face. “What’s wrong, Cat?” She flew into his arms. “Thank goodness you’re okay!” She squeezed him tightly. “Why are you so upset?” He murmured in her ear. “Did you see it?” She gazed up at him. “See what?” Marty raised a brow in confusion. “That!” She screeched and pointed at the door. The thing had followed Marty back to the cabin. It stared at them intently before pushing it’s hand against the glass. When it figured out it couldn’t get inside that way, it wondered off.

7

There were several loud bangs outside the cabin as the creature tried to find another way to get in. Then to Cat’s absolute horror…the power went out. “Marty, I’m so scared.” She whispered as her husband held her trembling body. “What’s going to happen to us? Is it going to eat us?”

9

Then came a loud thud from behind them. They whirled around and came face to face with it in another window and they both screamed. “It looks so hungry!” Cat cried. “I don’t want to die today! Not on Christmas!”

“Wait…what’s it looking at?” Marty wondered aloud and turned around. “Maybe it is hungry.” He eyed the fruitcake sitting on the table. “Wait here…I have an idea.”

10

“Don’t go back out there! Please!” Cat begged Marty but it was too late. He’d already slipped outside. He got on his knees and crawled slowly to the creature then placed the plate he held at it’s feet. While it was distracted by the offering, Marty made a run for the cabin. Once back inside, he and Cat observed the creature devour it’s meal while it gave little grunts of enjoyment here and there.

11

Then to their utter relief, the creature shuffled back into the forest and was never to be seen again. Cat and Marty decided then and there that what they’d seen would be their little secret…because no one would ever believe the tale of how fruitcake saved Christmas.

The End.

A Merry Catmas

3

It was the day before Christmas…and instead of feeling festive and full of holiday cheer, I was unfortunately very upset.

2

My best friends Travis and Summer were now officially an item. And it wasn’t fair! Watching them gaze at each other lovingly just made me feel even worse. I didn’t even want to celebrate anymore…and it was my favorite time of year!

4

We’d all been living together for over a year. Early on, Summer and I both had developed feelings for Travis. We made a pact that neither one of us would EVER pursue those feelings. Well…that was until Travis asked Summer out on a date. Then she forgot all about the promise she’d made to me. “Liberty, I’m sorry! But these things just happen sometimes.” She told me when I tried to remind her. “But what about me? Do you really think I want to be the third wheel? Some friend you are!” I complained angrily.

5

“Of course I’m your friend! But this is childish! We aren’t in high school anymore! Why can’t you just be happy for me?” She huffed and clenched her fists. “Because it hurts!” I cried. “Now I have to spend the holidays alone.” Summer sighed and shook her head. “But you won’t be alone. The three of us are still going to spend the day together tomorrow, Libs. It’ll be just like old times, I promise.” She put her arms around me and hugged me. “Your promises don’t mean anything to me anymore.” I pulled away from her. “I’m going to take a bubble bath and try to take my mind off of all of this.”

6

As I was soaking and contemplating whether or not I should just hold my head under the water and see how long I could hold my breath…I heard crying coming from outside. I wiped the frost off of the glass and strained to look out of the window. There was a small cat sitting in the snow, peering up at me with big pitiful eyes. “Oh you poor baby!” I cried. “I’ll be right there, don’t move!”

7

I wrapped myself in a towel and trudged out into the backyard all while shivering from the cold. I found the cat still waiting for me underneath the bathroom window. I gently picked her up and was greeted with happy purring. “Well hello there…Miss Kitty! Would you like to come inside?” I snuggled her close and tried to keep her warm.

8

I then took her to my bedroom. “I’ve always wanted a cat.” I told her as I put her on the floor and pet her. “But my roommates are allergic.” I stuck my lower lip out and pouted. “Maybe they’ll let me keep you anyways? It is the holidays, afterall.” I winked at Miss Kitty. “I’ll ask in the morning!” I climbed in the bed and patted the space next to me. Miss Kitty jumped up and laid down on my chest. I held her close and slept soundly all through the night.

9

Surprisingly, Travis and Summer had no problem with me keeping the cat. In fact, they even went out and bought her a bed and some treats. Maybe it was because they felt guilty…or maybe they wanted me to be happy. Either way I was grateful. When it was time to open presents, we all gathered in the living room together. And as my roomies moved closer to each other on the couch and kissed, I realized their relationship no longer bothered me. I was over it. So much can happen in a day. And who cared about silly things like pacts and promises anyways? I stifled a giggle and rubbed Miss Kitty’s belly. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

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The end.

 

Grim’s Fairytale

1

Death haunts this forest. Night after night. He walks alone. He is the gatekeeper and no soul passes through unless he is there to guide it. And tonight is just like any other night…there is work to be done. He searches the fog, gliding from gravestone to gravestone, until he finds what he’s looking for.

2

The young girl’s skin glistens under the moonlight as she sits hugging her knees in front of a particularly tall gravestone. Someone special to her has been buried there. He already knows who she is. Her name is on his list. “Holly.” He whispers to himself.

3

He’d taken her father the year before and soon he’ll take her too. It isn’t her time yet but he has nothing better to do than wait. He hides amongst the trees and watches as she uses her finger to draw patterns in the dirt.

4

Suddenly she jumps up and turns in his direction. She can’t see him but she knows he’s there. Watching. And waiting. “Come on out. I’m not scared of you.” She calls out bravely.

5

A small gasp escapes her lips once he drifts out into the open but she doesn’t run away. Instead she just stares up at him with her large brown eyes. She almost reminds him of a deer caught in headlights…and he’s taken plenty of those to the other side.

6

His voice, low and gravelly, echoes around them. “Why are you here?” She shrinks back then and trips over a fallen branch. He makes no move to help her up. As she gets back to her feet, she brushes herself off then looks up at him with a scowl. “I was waiting for you.” She grumbles. “I’m ready to go. Now.”

7

This was a first. And as curious as he is, he knows that there are rules in place for a reason. “It is not your time yet.” He responds flatly. “Please. I’m begging you. I don’t want to spend another minute here.” Holly pleads. “I won’t last much longer anyways.” She covers her mouth and coughs as she says this.

8

He then notices the dark circles under her eyes. The way her dress hangs limply against her small frame, and the way her chest heaves each time she takes a breath. The sickness inside of her will destroy her body in less than a year.

9

Before he can change his mind, he quickly pulls his list from his robe and in a swift stroke, he crosses out Holly’s name. “Take my hand.” He reaches out towards her. “Do not be afraid.” Holly sighs in relief knowing that her fight is nearly over. “Thank you.” She murmurs, giving him a grateful smile before placing her hands in his.

10

He leads her to a small clearing and in the center of it is an unusual well. “What is this place?” She looks up at him uncertainly. “You have one wish and one wish only. Save yourself.” He tells her as he hands her a single gold coin. Holly gazes at him intently as she traces her fingers over the coin’s engraving. Then she closes her eyes and flips it into the well.

11

They both take a step back as a black cloud of smoke streams out of the well and surrounds Death. Once it clears, he gazes down at his new form in astonishment. A rush of emotion fills him from head to toe. “What have you done to me?”┬áHe asks in a bewildered tone.

12

Holly beams at him briefly before her eyes roll into the back of her head and she faints, hitting the ground with a soft thud. He runs to her, pulling her into his arms. “What have you done, foolish girl?” He cries. “I gave you back your humanity.” She whispers as she trembles all over. She takes a deep ragged breath and then is still.

13

He holds her close and runs his fingers through her hair. “You cannot just leave me now.” He feels as he’s been shattered into pieces. “Looks like Death has a heart after all.” Holly speaks as she stirs awake. “What did you wish for?” He begs to know. “I wished to be as you are. But different.” She opens her eyes once more. He watches as she transforms right before him. She is different now too.

14

Her pale skin is almost ghostly and her eyes are milky white. “What’s the point in living forever if you can’t enjoy it?” She lays her hand on his cheek and presses her cold lips gently to his temple. He feels a flutter in his stomach then…a feeling that he’d long forgotten.

15

“And what are we?” He rasps as his breath gets caught in his throat. “We are the gatekeepers. We are the only thing standing between this world and the next.” She recites knowingly. “We are the reapers of lost souls.” He finishes for her. He helps her to her feet and she leans against him as he shows her the way back to the fog encased forest. “We are as one.” They whisper into the night.

16

Death haunts this forest. Night after night. Yet he no longer walks alone.

The End.

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