(Author’s Note: Sorry this took forever. I found myself drinking a lot in September, got some ants in my pants, and then recorded an album. I’ll post that later on. Hope you guys are enjoying the story.) Continue reading
A Short Story By AJ Tompkins
The Claye Family had arrived in the new world in 1704, stumbling into a large chunk of property near Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. The third son of a baron, Oceanus Claye had departed England with the intent of winning his father’s favor (and perhaps a higher stake in his will) by proving himself an astute businessman. He made the move with his wife, Priscilla, and their two young daughters, Humility and Sarah.
Having won the Aspway Plantation during a gambling spree in London, the move promised to be a new start for the newlyweds and their children. Oceanus promised to forgo the gambling and drink, and Priscilla was forced to cut off her relations with the rakish Myles Johnson of Birmingham. The house and property were large, some of the largest in the area, and had already shown a habit of turning a profit in the rice trade. Much of the labor was done by a mixed crew of indentured servants and African slaves, who had endured much cruelty under the Aspway command. Oceanus, despite his flaws, had never had the stomach for cruelty, and he essentially retired the whip during his lifetime. Most of those in indentured servitude were released from their bonds, and Claye honored their deals, carving out small parcels of his own land for them to farm. Most sold it back to the plantation at respectable prices, seeking to move farther north.
A Short Story by AJ Tompkins
My father used to have me help him clean the kills he would bring home from hunting. The smell of stale tobacco and blood mixed sweetly in the garage, and I was always so happy to get to spend those Sunday evenings with him. He would have me pluck the birds, a menial task no one could mess up. The feathers came out in clumps and left the skin coarse, much like the stubble did my father’s face. It wasn’t until I was six that he finally let me make an incision or get my hands dirty inside the creatures. The removal of the guts was my favorite part at that age, I would lay them out and ask questions about the purpose of each little meat pile.
Salutations peachy peoples,
First, thank you for partaking in our little project here. If you came here just to find out what this post is about, welcome, please feel free to partake in the rest of our work as well, it’s quite good. In particular, two of our writers are working together to craft a Stranger Things/Twin Peaks rip-off that has been going for a full year now. If you frequent our blog (there has to be at least one person, amirite?) know this is a bit of a departure from my (AJT) usual style. To celebrate Hallows Eve, the turning of the season, and just for fun, this year I am attempting to craft a short horror story a week for the next month. I will post all the stories individually, and add them to this anthology post as well. I don’t know if I have the chops for horror prose, but this seems like a fun challenge.
In the coming weeks, you can expect… Little Birdie (slasher piece), Sycamore Man (a gothic tale), Cat Scratch Fever (curses and nursery rhymes, oh my), & [F4M] Prey Seeking Hunter (grotesque, uncomfortable, psychological thriller). I look forward to crafting these, to having deadlines, and to hearing your feedback. Happy Early Halloween everyone!
Note: Before Austin left for his wild Hemingway-style adventure in the Pacific, he gave me his blessing to post another update in his absence. He’s up next when he comes back though.
Here’s a link to the first entry if you’re just now tuning in and feel like getting caught up:
Hope you guys are enjoying the story!
Reese Continue reading
Ann Marie laid on the bed and browsed Facebook as the warm sonic tones of Maggie singing “All That Jazz” drifted down the hallway. It was a month before the end of summer and most of the pictures on Ann Marie’s newsfeed showed various acquaintances on vacation in sandy places or laying in the sun at the Quentin’s Lake Reservoir, so named for frontiersman Nathaniel Quentin who founded the first trading post in Deercliff in the early 1800s. Ann Marie scrolled through the newsfeed absentmindedly and then rapidly flipped back up to the top of the page to check her notifications. She had posted a picture of her and Big Mac about three miles up Harris Creek Road at one of the many waterfalls that ran alongside the road where they had stopped to drop a fishing line and enjoy a picnic. She saw that only four people had liked the photo and decided to turn off her phone’s screen and to drop it gracelessly onto her chest. Continue reading
“So this is where you’ll spend most of your shift, probably,” said Kate, holding the door open so that Todd could step into the borderline miniature kitchen. Todd slouched into the room and bumped up against the brushed steel stove top and Kate followed. There was scarcely room to turn around with both of them in there. Continue reading
The misshapen wooden steps in front of Delia Leonne’s trailer house sank into the mud under Todd’s weight as he ascended them. He took a moment to make sure he was properly balanced and then knocked on the brown plastic door. As he waited he examined his surroundings and saw stacks of sun-faded milk crates and a pile of pallets leaning up against a crumbling burn-barrel. The air was grey and little drops of rain sputtered out of the sky, touching the various pools of water that speckled the muddy yard. Continue reading
Delia Leonne woke up with the sun on the first of November. She could feel the sunlight spill through the sheer curtains that hung in her bedroom and lamented the fact that her mother would not allow her to hang blackout curtains. Continue reading
In a town like Deercliff there are no secrets. In the days following the assault of Maggie Nice, Sheriff Boyer made it her job to cultivate this small-town share-all mindset. She did not have to do very much before she was swimming in a proverbial sea of (mis)information.