A collection of horror, mystery, and science fiction tales, with contributions from fellow writers, James Darko and Dexter Lynch. If you wish to contribute, I'd be happy to showcase your writing. Just send me a message. The stories are free to read and always will be. Some are better than others (I'm speaking only for myself), but I can't give all my best ideas away for free, ha ha. Feel free to share any stories, but please be sure to give credit where credit is due.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
The wind ushered in a cacophony of cries from the
encompassing wildlife; animals that had yet to become acclimated to the harsh
The boys all huddled around the fire pit that Roland Everett
had dug and filled, rubbing their tiny hands together for warmth. Three hours
had passed since darkness had fallen and the boys took shelter in Greenkill
Roland had busted his knee up something awful in the
accident, but he always came prepared. Stashed in the trunk of his wrecked
Oldsmobile Supreme was an emergency kit with flashlights, ponchos, tents,
bottled water. There was also an assortment of tools–wrenches, screwdrivers,
ratchets, pliers–that were useless in this situation. No wrench was going to
repair the damage to the front end.
But the flashlights and tents proved useful when they found
themselves stranded with no houses or shops for miles in either direction.
Roland examined the map and discovered Greenkill was just a quarter mile east
from the crash site.
“That’ll be a good place to hold up for the night,” Roland
told the boys with darkness fast approaching. “I can pitch the tents and get a
fire going. At least we’ll be warm and dry for the evening. In the morning,
I’ll walk to the nearest town and get help.”
“What if someone drives by and sees the car here?” Roland’s
brother, Robert, had asked. “Shouldn’t we leave a note?” Rob was always
thinking. At an age where the boys were maturing and were interested more in
girls and sports than academics, Rob was the egghead of the group.
He flourished in all his classes, and scored brownie points
with the teachers here and there by bringing them gifts and doing extra work
that wasn’t even assigned to him. An attendee of the seventh grade, Rob was
already reading at a twelfth grade level and often surprised his brother with
bits of knowledge even Roland failed to possess.
“This area is pretty deserted, pal,” Roland told his
brother. “But you’re right; I’ll leave a note just in case someone passes
through and sees the wreckage.”
Roland scribbled a note on a blank page from one of Rob’s
notebooks and pinned it down with the windshield wiper. Even on a trip upstate
to see his first rock concert, Rob had brought his books along to work on his
weekend homework assignments.
The boys were Roland’s responsibility. And if the parents
found out what had happened, they’d probably be mortified. So on their quarter
mile walk to the forest, Roland begged them not to say anything. “Promise me
you’ll tell your parents we made it to the concert and everything was all
“What do we get if we cover for you?” Tim Johnstone asked.
He was a gutsy little punk that Roland loved to hate. “Will you let us have
some of your beer?”
“In your dreams, puke-face.”
“Fine, I’ll tell my parents you gave us beer anyway,” Tim
“This is going to be a long night,” Roland muttered. He let
the boys walk ahead of him a bit as he hobbled along. His leg wasn’t broken,
but he found it difficult to bend his knee or put his full weight on it.
“Why don’t you just call for help?” Casey Fisher asked
“I forgot my cell phone at home,” Roland told him. “Do any
of you guys have a cell phone on you?”
“I don’t have a cell phone,” Jamie Strode said.
“Yeah, his parents didn’t feel like wasting the money on
him,” Tim laughed.
“Does anybody else have a phone?” Roland’s question
garnered no positive response from the boys. With no car, no phone, and no help
for miles, they’d surely miss the concert. But that wasn’t Roland’s primary
concern. His concern was being stuck with these hell raisers for the night.
Once Roland lit the fire, he gathered around with the boys
and asked, “Who wants to hear an old campfire story our grandfather used to
“Is it scary?” Jamie Strode asked, his timidity showing.
“Scaredy-cat,” Casey Fisher teased Jamie.
“Am not!” Jamie said defiantly.
“Are too!” Casey fired back. Roland remembered this
escalating game from when he was a kid. And listening to the two boys bicker back
and forth, he realized then just how annoying this so-called game could be.
“Knock it off you two and listen to my story,” Roland told
them, his scruffy face illuminated behind orange flames. “The Grukins were an
ancient tribe of nomadic creatures who used–”
“Nomadic?” Jamie repeated the word.
“It means they moved around from place to place,” Rob
“That’s right,” Roland said. “And the Grukins used to prowl
through the forests, hunting and stalking their prey. What did the Grukins
hunt, you ask? Why humans, of course. You see, Grukins, like vampires, survive
on the blood of the living. They especially love the blood of children. They
can smell your fear from a mile away.”
These alleged facts sent shivers down Jamie’s spine. Even
Casey Fisher was a little freaked out.
“What did the Grukins look like?” Jamie couldn’t help but
“Nobody knows for sure,” Roland told them beside the fire.
“Nobody ever lived to speak of their encounters. But the legends vary. Some
claims the Grukins are as tall as a house. Other people say they’re smaller,
predatory creatures with the external structure of amphibians. One thing’s for
sure, they only come out to hunt when it’s dark.”
“Bull crap,” Tim Johnstone called him out. “You probably
just made that story up on the spot.”
“Fine, don’t believe the legends,” Roland said. “Find out
for yourself. Go wander the forest and see if you make it back in one piece.”
Tim gulped. “I think I’ll pass.”
“That’s what I thought, smart ass” Roland grinned.
With that chilling tale, Roland let the fire burn out and
pitched their tents. With only two tents at their disposal, Roland let the boys
share one and took the other, smaller tent for himself. He insisted he wanted
to give them their space to talk, joke, play games. But really it was just an
excuse to be alone in his tent and smoke pot and drink cheap malt liquor.
An hour passed before Roland heard the scratching on his
tent. He opened it up to see Jamie Strode standing there with a frightened
glint in his eyes.
“I’m scared and the boys keep making fun of me,” Jamie told
him. “Can I sleep in here with you, please?”
“All right,” Roland sighed. Jamie got in and Roland sealed
the tent again.
“My brother is the coolest,” Rob boasted in the boys’
separate tent. “I know we didn’t get to go to the concert, but at least we got
to hang out with him and hear his stories. Isn’t he awesome?” Tim and Casey had
grown weary of Rob’s vaunting, but they were too exhausted to demur.
As they dozed off, Rob decided to let sleeping dogs lie and
abandoned them to join Jamie in his brother’s tent.
Roland unzipped the tent when he heard Robert’s calls and
closed it up again once Rob was inside with them.
“Great,” Roland muttered. “What did I do to these kids with
“What’s that smell in here?” Rob inquired as he tried to
make himself comfortable in the cramped tent.
“It’s incenses,” Roland lied to cover up for the odor of
“It smells like marijuana,” Jamie pointed out. “My brother
got caught smoking it in our garage last year. I know what it smells like.”
“I’ll give you both five bucks if you promise not to tell,”
Roland said, biting his upper lip.
“Make it ten,” Rob said.
“Why you little–” Roland’s sentence was cut off by a
strange din that emanated from beyond their tent.
“What was that?” Jamie asked.
“Nothing,” Roland assured him. “Probably just Tim and Casey
trying to play a prank on us.”
“Maybe it’s a Grukin,” Jamie said, shuddering.
“It’s not a Grukin!” Roland said emphatically.
From the second tent, Roland and the boys heard the
bloodcurdling screams masked by an even more terrifying sound. The petrifying
shriek of a Grukin.
The tribe had lived on…and the survivors were extremely famished.