Novel Character Comes to Life – And May Murder Someone

You’ve written a novel with a character that eventually murders one of his or her neighbors. Suddenly, a new person moves into your neighborhood with the same name as your character. Looks similar too. In fact, you can’t help but notice this new neighbor is doing several of the same things as your character—including laying the groundwork to murder someone. You decide to follow this person because, if all holds true to your plot, you know what’s going to happen. Write this scene.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

Want more creative writing prompts? Consider:
The Writer’s Book of Matches

You might also like:

135 thoughts on “Novel Character Comes to Life – And May Murder Someone

  1. Ryker Davis

    If I didn’t know better I would swear that was Durant Rawlins, my Durant, but that couldn’t be possible. I agree the name was the same, and in a certain way the man did kind of look like him, okay totally looked like him. When the couple first moved in across the street I mentioned the similarities to my husband and he just grinned, kissed my forehead and joked about my imagination.

    After David’s chiding I agreed I would quit watching out the window at our new neighbors. Not that David knew it but I had also taken to following Durant to work in the mornings just to see if he unloaded bodies. I had just about given up my foolishness when I noticed this strange red puddle trickling down the driveway while walking Brutus.

    No sooner was I inside I started watching from the darkened living room.

    “Pamela what on earth are you doing?”

    “I think that’s a body he’s loading.”

    David peeked out the blinds three slats above mine. “Look he is just getting ready for work. What you thought was a body was probably his tarps all rolled up.”

    “Don’t you get it David, my Durant, did the exact same thing. He would use his day job to get rid of the bodies he killed the night before.”

    “Pamela, remind me again, who is your Durant?”

    There was a tired patience in David’s question. He believed that I was losing my sanity. He said I stayed buried in my books for so long I began to believe them. But this was not like the last time.

    “Pamela?” He shook me and must have seen the panic on my face. “Think about it love, who is your Durant.”

    “The protagonist in the novel I submitted to Jamie a week ago. Hey that’s when Durant and his wife moved in. I came back from lunch with Jamie and the moving truck was there. That can’t be a coincidence.”

    “Pamela do you really think the killer from your book came alive and is killing people in our neighborhood? Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?” David’s mood, by this time had gone from amused to frustrated.

    “No,” I snapped back. “I am not that stupid. It’s just… look at the timing and the things he keeps doing. His next victim… ”

    The argument was interrupted by a sharp rap on the door. I peeked out the blinds just as my husband opened the door. “No it’s him.”

    “Of course it’s him. Who else would it be at this hour?”

    “Is she ready?”

    “She will be in a minute.”

    I had to think. This scene was the end of the novel. My protagonist wasn’t just one but team of brothers who wanted to set a record on the most people killed. How did I not know? I opened my mouth to scream when something hard smashed against my head.

    “Careful you don’t want to kill her before she writes you story.”

  2. r0yaldisco

    I had never been published before. The letter to the editor still laid on my table, as if it had been one of those awkward bill notes one is too afraid to respond to but more afraid to throw away, should they need to suddenly prove they are in debt. What’s more was I never wrote suspense. I preferred the sprawling voice of prose or the inner dialogue of my journal, yet somehow, this short story’s life worked its way from my fingertips. Now I was waiting for a copy of a book I nearly didn’t believe was even mine.
    The novella was one of a hermit, not un-autobiographical in that respect. It’s said that when authors take pieces of the world and put them to the page, they first take it from themselves. When I read the words hammered into my computer, I didn’t see some false world of Joe Everyman who I so proudly put to paper. I saw me. I saw my jumbled desk in my cramped house in damp woods. I saw my acrid coffee mugs displayed for days of which I otherwise avoided in real life.
    What I didn’t see was actually what I didn’t see coming. Who kills themself in a short story? Or better, who murders themself in a short story? Cynical men who think that the life they lead is impervious to circumstance, that’s who. So when my antagonist, the estranged new neighbor, actually became an estranged new neighbor, I did not know whether to be ecstatic that I could predict the future, or the other feeling.
    For seven years, I have lived here. I always wanted it that way. My greatest fear has always been that my family would return and try to reclaim the land my mother left us. But it was always there. The caveat in the will that the property would always be available to her children in times of need loomed over my head. My brother, the eccentric one, not the business one, was always a step away from the edge, call it a matter of pride or precedent or what have you, if someone was going to push him over the edge, it was going to be me.
    A teepee. That’s where I wanted him to live. The beauty of fiction is that I can do whatever I want, and I wanted my crazy brother in a teepee, stinking drunk, and schizophrenic. I wanted to be the smart one who was right. I wanted a blaze of glory, God damn it! So I wrote it and if ever fate wanted to laugh at someone’s wish, here it was. My fucking crazy brother in a teepee, stinking drunk, and telling me that God couldn’t save me if I believed in aliens. One bad fight away from my fictional death and all I can do is think of how wrong it is for him to be here. I’ll think I’ll go tell him to leave right now.

  3. kelseylu11

    He walks ominously across his backyard dragging a bloodstained shovel behind him. As the man reaches the middle of his yard, be sticks the end into the ground and with his foots power he stomps it into the ground, over and over again. As I watch just feet away in the creases of his privacy fence, I can’t help but feel an inevitable suspicion that I will be next.
    Typing the last few sentences, a bittersweet sensation overcomes me. For the past few years, this novel has become my whole world. I’ve been waking up just to lose myself in the lives of my characters, forgetting the existence of reality. The idea behind it is actually quite genius. A small town sheriff, Adam Ricca gets busted for being behind recent murders in his county. It’s a mystery all up until the end, where the least likely person catches him in the act.
    As the clamor of the printer starts up, my husband peaks his head into my study beaming from ear to ear. We got married around the beginning of my writing and although he’s been very supportive throughout, I can tell he’s ready to have the girl he married back. He dreams of having children and having big holiday gatherings, and while those are things I’ve desired too, right now I just need a long walk in the fresh air. I need to breathe, I need to see kids playing, and I need to refocus my attention on real life.
    As we make our way around the loop, I see an up truck pull into the drive way at the Wilson’s old place. Knowing my husband has a heart my helping people and jumps at the chance to meet someone new; I give him a smile and shoe him off.
    Hours later, my husband and a strange man appear in the doorway of our house. My husband and the man seemed to have become fast friends; they both had that friendly feel about them. The man was dressed in a police uniform and introduced himself as my new neighbor, Adam Ricca. My heart stopped for a brief second. As I choked for air, I struggled to regain my composure.
    When he did leave, my husband reassured me that there was nothing to worry about. He said that I was just overreacting because I got so absorbed in my novel. My husband grabbed a few water bottles, and with a peck on my forehead he was out the door again. I couldn’t help but pear out the window. The coincidence of his name was one thing, but with Adam being a sheriff too made me a little uneasy. I watched as my husband bounded out of the up truck with a few yard tools in his hands. I carefully watched as he put the rake and the shovel in the garage. I continued watching until I drifted off to sleep.
    I woke up many hours later and surprisingly my husband still wasn’t home. I popped my head up to look out the window again and to my complete and utter terror I saw Adam Ricca walking back across his lawn with this same shovel that I had just saw my husband put away hours earlier. I quickly grabbed a light jacket, and snuck outside. Peaking through the creases of his privacy fence, I saw the man ominously walking across his backyard dragging this dirty shovel behind him. Without being able to take my eyes off of him, I watch as he powers the shovel into the ground and begins digging, over and over again.

  4. tvmcgowan

    I was lounging on the swing on my porch, feet up, beer in hand. My manuscript was at my publisher and I was taking a break. Across the street new neighbors were moving in.

    I hadn’t seen the new owners of the Russell’s house yet. They had retired and moved to Florida and their house just sold. As I swung, a large man came out of the house and headed to a van. He glanced at me and I held up my beer bottle in a welcome salute. He gave me a brief nod in return.

    He seemed familiar and I realized he resembled the murderer in my novel. Fairly muscular, he stood well over 6 feet, had flaming red hair and goatee. So did Nathan Ashton, the murderer of my novel. I gave my Nathan a tatoo of crossed golf clubs above a flaming golf ball on his left forearm. Nathan had murdered his neighbor Bill Adams over a golfing bet. Before that he stole Adams clubs from his garage, bent them and duct taped them to Bill’s garage door, spelling the word “Loser”, among other forms of harassment. Appropriately he saved the sand wedge to bash in Adams head before burying him in the sand trap of the fifth hole at the course they played.

    The long time neighbor next door to the Russell’s is Bill Adams, a mediocre golfing nut and friend. I had used his name as my victim with his gleeful permission.

    I like meeting people so I got off the swing and moseyed across the street to say hello.

    The new guy was outside his van digging through a box. He turned and looked at me as I walked up.

    “Hi, I wanted to welcome you to the block,” I said extending my hand. “I’m Mike McGrath.”

    Shaking my hand, he said, “Nate Ashton.”

    Startled I looked at his left forearm. No tatoo. It was on his right forearm. Same tatoo, but the ball was not flaming.

    Flustered, I stammered out, ” Well, I just wanted to say hi and welcome. I know you must be busy, so I will let you go.”

    “Yeah, busy day,” he replied. “Catch you later.”

    “Sure,” I said and speed walked back to my house. At my door I took a quick glance over at Bll Adams house.

    I kept a close watch on Nate the following weeks. I learned from Bill he was the new golf pro at the municipal course. Bill told me this when we played a round a few days after Ashton had moved in. Bill had met him and was excited to have a pro living next door. He even thought it funny they both had the same names as in my novel but expressed no concern.

    A month and half later Bill and his wife were over for a barbeque when Bill told me Ashton was giving him problems.

    “We played a round a couple weeks ago and I of course lost. Now Ashton wants me to pay him for the bet,” Bill told me.

    “How much was the bet?” I asked.

    ‘I mentioned a thousand bucks but I said it jokingly and he knows it. He’s the pro for Pete’s sake. He knows I”m not that good.”

    “Well, be careful,” I told him.

    A week later a police car sat in front of the Adams home. I walked over as Bill’s wife told the officer their garage had been broken into. Her husband’s golf clubs were bent and lying on the floor, spelling the word, “Loser.” She had called his office to tell him but his secretary told her Bill had not made it into work that day.

    I got in my car and drove to a convenience store a few blocks away and used the outdoor payphone to make a call to the police.

    “If you go to the sand trap on the fifth hole of the municipal golf course, you will find a body.” I then hung up and drove home.

  5. Ginneon

    The novel was sent to the publisher a week before. Then he moved in…he has a beard, like my character. He drinks vodka and looks at the school children as they board the bus in the morning, like my character. He came over and introduced himself, like my character. Day by day, i fear for my life. I do not know what to do in the case of my murder. I told the police station of my situation, he was a solider. He saved children in a flaming school building they say. You are a beautiful woman and he is just interested in dating you they say. I know the truth. I plan on killing him before he kills me. The hacksaw and lye are ready. I invited him over for food tonight. I will boil his body and buy the melted remains. I must do this to save myself.

  6. Jed Cook

    “Alan stepped between the wood fence and the brick house. The moonlight was bright enough that…”
    “Dang it” I slammed my fist on my keyboard and whirled around in my chair and looked out the window.
    “Is it ever peaceful around here?” I looked at what had shattered my concentration. A middle aged man was climbing out of his blue Dodge pickup. He slammed the rusty door and walked into his house. I figured I needed a break from writing anyways, so I headed across the street to meet my new neighbor. I walked up the steps and rang the door bell.
    “My name is Dave Thomson, I live across the street and I just wanted to introduce myself” I said. With an effort he smiled and held out his hand.
    “Rick Bowling” He said abruptly.
    “No way, that is the same name as a character in a novel I am writing!” I said astonished. He gave me an irritated look “Oh, you’re one of those guys” And turned into his house.
    “I’ll see you later” I said still marveling.
    ` I was walking back when I caught a glimpse of pick-up bed and hesitated. Underneath a blue tarp a sharp four pronged pitchfork stuck out. I shook my head and walked back to my house. I went back to my computer and typed a few sentences and then rose impatiently out of my chair. How could this be? Same name. Same face. Same car. And now he had the same murder weapon. This could definitely be interesting I thought.
    I hurried up to my room and retrieved a pair of binoculars. I looked out the window and saw him working in the backyard. The sun was just setting and I could not get a good look at him because of the glare so I went downstairs crept across the street in the retreating light.
    When I reached his house I peered over the wooden fence. He was bending over scooping some dirt out of a hole that was about 6 feet long and maybe two feet wide.
    I stood there unsure what to do. What was I even doing here? I started to walk back feeling abashed. I walked by his truck and could not resist looking in it again. The pitch fork was gone. One more peek wouldn’t hurt. I started to steal back along the brick wall. The moon appeared and a shadow fell in front of me. I froze. I felt like I would suffocate but I didn’t dare to breath. The whole thing seemed like a nightmare. The long shadows made by the pitchfork crept towards me. Suddenly the form of a man appeared. His rough features were clear in the moonlight. Quickly he had the pitchfork above his head and descending on to mine. I wrested the pitchfork out of his hands and stabbed the man. He sunk to the ground. Suddenly, I saw the lights of a police car and a officer running towards me. “Thank God” I thought, trembling. I turned around the glinting pitchfork still in my hands.
    “Stop” the officer shouted, raising his pistol. No, No! I said frantically. But it was too late. The shot filled the night air. And I fell to the ground.

  7. catalinarichard

    I have been working on this novel for the past year, and now it finally is sitting on my coffee table waiting for me to do the last revision. The long hours I spent on developing my plot and characters have paid off. I feel like I have known each character my whole entire life. This is the part that begins to give me a bad feeling. Around the time that I submitted the first version to my publisher, John moved in next door. I was looking out my window at the moving truck, thinking to myself how I will never move during winter if I could avoid it. It was then I saw him for the first time. Every muscle in my body froze. The murderer from my novel has just moved across the street from me. Immediately I begin to panic, thinking that he knows that I know what he has done. Oxygen eventually found its way to my brain, and I talk myself off the ledge I have found myself perched on. Everyday I watched John, telling myself that uncanny patterns I saw in his behavior were all in my head. My obsession with him grew more and more. I began to document on one of my scripts the ways he was like my character. That is when I noticed him following my story chronologically. I would set an alarm and then go to the window and sure enough John would be coming home carrying the same green gym bag I mentioned in the story. Except I knew what was in the gym bag, and it was not dirty laundry or sneakers. It was about two weeks before my character was going to commit his murder and I couldn’t help myself. I waited around the corner and began following John. I knew where he was going, so I made sure I turned on my blinker before he did. If he really was my character he would check if he was being followed, and that would put him at ease. Some days I would just meet him at the place he was going, just to make sure I wasn’t going mad. But each time I would be sitting in my car telling myself I was crazy, and sure enough he would be there. If I told anyone what was going on they would never believe me, I would have to bust him in the act. If this was my story I could stop him before he hurt anyone, I could outsmart him. After all, I was the one who invented him. The evening of my stake out I began to lay out all of my supplies on my kitchen table, making sure I had everything that I needed. Just as I was checking the battery on the Maglite my front door bell rings. I shove everything into my rucksack and walk over to the door. I open the door and there in my door way is John. I care barely utter a hello. Something is wrong with the situation; I feel the cold sweat begin pool on my back. He gives me a wry smile and doesn’t wait to be invited in. He steps in before I can close the door. This is the first time that he has been in my house and I am home alone. He starts to make small talk about being busy and how he has meant to come over and introduce himself. As he makes his way into my living room he stops at the coffee table and picks up my manuscripts and begins to flip through it. He tells me that his favorite part is when the killer tells the girl what he is going to do to her. It is her fear that makes it all worth it, he loves to feel her weakness and panic. How in the world has John read my novel? He answers the question before I have a chance to finish my thought. He works for my publisher, and he read my script. In one fluid motion John grabs my arm and pulls me into to his arms. It was in that moment that I realize, I am the girl that dies.

  8. Gianni Beau

    It is the beginning of June. Opposite me, the new tenant had moved in over the weekend while I was away. I asked Alex, the doorman, who the new tenant was and he said, “All I know is that his name is James Carson.” I thanked him and went on my way with a funny feeling. I had just finished a short story whose antagonist was named James Carson.

    Over the next few days, I asked Alex if he knew anything more about the new tenant. “He owns an Art Gallery. It’s on West 28th Street.” My heart sank. My story’s character owned an Art Gallery on 28th Street.

    That evening, I told my girl friend, Marie, what was happening. She said that I was making too big a thing out of it. It was all a coincidence. “No,” I said, “It’s too close to my story for me to ignore.”

    I was obsessed. The doorman and the porters all looked at my funny when I asked about my new neighbor. I was overeating. I couldn’t control myself. I had gained about ten pounds in two weeks. My clothes no longer fit.

    Finally, it happened. The thing I was afraid of. I heard a knock at the door and when I opened it a beautiful brunette stood in front of me. Seeing my surprise, she explained that she was my neighbor’s friend and asked if I had any matches that she could borrow because the pilot light on the stove went out and she couldn’t find any.

    This was too scary. The same thing happens in my story. A woman who is James Carson’s friend goes to the neighbor’s door to ask for matches. I rush to find mine and give her the box and told her to keep it because I have more. Just then the elevator door opens and Carson comes out. He stops and looks at us. I nod to him and move to close the door, but the woman is standing in the doorway.

    “It didn’t take you long,” he says to the woman, and turns to me to give me a dirty look. I am too frightened to respond because what I wrote is being acted out.

    The woman turns and goes into the neighbor’s apartment with him following her. I don’t know what to do. Finally, I hear the shouts and her screaming and then silence. It is too late. There is nothing I can do. She is dead. I know it. I want to call the police, but I’m afraid to. How do I explain to them that I know what happened. I spent a sleepless night. At sunrise, I finally fell asleep in my armchair and was awakened by the noise in the hall. I went to the peep hole and saw the police bringing the woman out in handcuffs followed by a stretcher with a covered body. I was relieved. In my story, it is the woman who is dead and James Carson who is in handcuffs.

  9. Chrisgiraffe

    “Robert,” she said in her smug, authoritarian tone, “I know we call it your journal, but technically it’s our journal. All items in the ward are property of the ward. So would you like to hand that to me the easy way or do we need the restraints?”

    “But you have no business looking at it. You don’t understand.”

    Henrietta didn’t waste one moment. With a glance her nurses pinned him to the floor as he screamed every violent obscenity he could grasp.

    “You have no business!” he repeated.

    While Robert Turin lay restrained and sedated on his cold sterile bed Henrietta thumbed through the journal like a pulp thriller.

    “Man, that ain’t right.” Marcus said.

    “Don’t judge me. I’m not the one selling their watches on the outside.” Henrietta replied. “Besides, this is good stuff. He didn’t leave out any details.”


    “About his wife. The murder.”

    “I still don’t get it. Why would a guy write down everything that happened to his wife if he didn’t do it? Makes no sense.”

    “Oh, he did it. They just couldn’t prove it. He may not have pulled the trigger but come on. How would he know every detail?”

    “Gotta point.” Marcus sighed.



    Henrietta buried herself in the pages.

    “What, what?” Marcus asked.

    “That little…” Henrietta seethed with anger.

    “What’d he say?”

    Marcus ducked as she tossed the journal to him, then read for himself.

    -Henrietta walked down the hall to let in Joe and the new admit, Stacy Templeton. She was irritable as usual but tonight she was distracted. She’d read Mr. Turin’s journal and wasn’t sure if he was crazy or could somehow predict the future. She didn’t even notice the puddle of soapy water next to the staircase the janitor left behind. Her heal caught it the wrong way, her ankle twisted and down she tumbled, half a flight of stairs, breaking her neck and sending her off this Earth forevermore.-

    “Man, that IS cold!” Marcus said.

    “He knew I’d read this. He thinks his life is bad now, he’ll wish he never learned to write.” Henrietta swore.

    The intercom rudely buzzed through her tirade.

    “Yeah?!” Henrietta answered.

    “It’s me, Joe.”

    “It’s late. What’s wrong?” she asked.

    “Nothing. Just a new admit.”

    “I’ll be right up.” She answered.

    “Well, I’d better check the rooms.” Marcus added.

    “You’re gonna get caught one of these days.” Henrietta warned.

    “Guess that beats breakin my neck on some stairs.” He joked.

    “Ha,” Henrietta dead panned. She trudged to the admit doors and saw Joe’s bland, potato shaped head waiting behind the security glass.

    “Thanks for getting here so fast.”

    Henrietta didn’t care for sarcasm so she didn’t reply. She turned to the patient and introduced herself. “I’m Henrietta, head nurse. I will be in charge of your care. And you are?”

    “Stacy Templeton.”

    Henrietta looked to the stairs and noticed a puddle just before Stacy stabbed her fourteen times in the neck for the theft of her mother’s cherished locket.

  10. Curt

    Rex Lunedo was a sociopathic monster who behaved more like a natural disaster than a man. At least, that was my vision for him, and that’s why I was scared. This Rex matched my vision of that horrific man, from his shark-like smile to the swift, fluid way he carried himself. His appearance in my neighborhood had been read line by line from my manuscript. Just as the manuscript faithfully predicted, he left his house at 8:37 PM. That I knew him so well brought me infinite discomfort. I was hunting my own monster, and knowing all too well what he was capable of, the weight of my USP .45 did nothing to calm me. I’d been following Rex for about twenty minutes, gradually closing distance on him while I wracked my brain for how I’d deal with him. It’d be nice if I’d written myself into this part, so I could know what to do- maybe I could’ve just talked him down over a beer. Better yet, maybe I could’ve aborted him with the backspace button. Some part of me considered that I might stand a better chance taking him on than most of my characters- I wrote him, I know him better than anyone. That same course of logic then implied that I stood no chance at all if I couldn’t kill him in fiction. I was sure he’d already noticed me, at this point it was just a matter of time before he killed me unless I did something first. I was a decent shot at best, but nearly worthless in hand to hand combat, so my only hope would be to shoot him down. As quietly as I could move, my hand drifted to the grip of my pistol, and I froze in place. Rex had stopped to face me, smiling at me, his hand where he always kept his pistol. I knew that stance, that smile, we’d reached the point of no return. This was a mistake, I could feel my heart writhing in my chest, my entire body alive with the fear that had stricken it for good reason. I drew my pistol, punched the gun outward, briefly glimpsing Rex in my sights, still smiling as he leveled his own gun at me. I fired once, the explosive shot muffling my hearing to a low hum and blinding me. I felt two thumps at the base of my neck, and the pistol jerked out of my hand, followed by a horrible burning pain on my right wrist. All at once, my legs gave out, I tried to gasp for air, but got fluid instead- blood pouring in from well-placed shots to my neck. In the deepening haze of my vision, I could see Rex turn and begin to walk away. I saw him stumble once, and then hit the ground. My head hurt, I could feel my consciousness being pulled out through the base of my skull, and I closed my eyes.

  11. vvkchandra

    I decided to not to tell Priya about what happened.

    I followed my neighbour for next two days to look for clues to dismiss the whole thing as a supernatural coincidence.

    Many strange things happened which were exactly same as I wrote them in the novel. Three nights later he knocked on our door as my character did in the novel. He borrowed some sugar while carefully studying our house and often times looking at our bedroom where Priya was talking on the phone.

    This was beyond what my brain could handle.

    The most terrifying of all was that I knew what was going to happen if things continued to follow as per the novel.

    Priya would be brutally killed with a knife if things continued to happen. So brutally that I regretted imagining it.

    I was totally insane. I hurried up Priya the next morning and asked her to go to her Mother’s place. She fought with me and I convinced her somehow.

    I was insane to an extent that I forgot what I wrote in my novel. The murder happens in the victim’s mother’s place. I realized it after we sat in the car.

    She did not agree to change her mind and all the way she was asking why I was behaving weirdly.

    If this insanity continued, I had only twenty four hours to save Priya. I took a couple of pills and never knew when I fell asleep for few hours in the noon.

    In my dream I met a publisher in a bar. He looked at the manuscript and read first few pages.

    “Akash,” the publisher said while putting his wine glass on the table, “can you change the place where she gets killed and the way she gets killed. We may turn off some sensitive crime fiction readers because of the brutality of the murder,” then he laughed and vanished with the dream as I woke up abruptly.

    That saved my wife and my life. I opened my laptop and changed the story without sleeping the entire night.

  12. vvkchandra

    Priya was deep asleep when I finished typing the last sentence of my first novel. It was a story about a suspicious new neighbour who commits a murder. It was past midnight and I went to sleep happily.

    I woke up from my blissful sleep when I heard a loud noise from our neighbour’s house. He moved in recently. I looked at my wife and she was still deep asleep.

    The first time I saw him a few days ago, I had a strange feeling that I have met this guy before.

    I got up from my bed, put on my shirt, walked half awake and knocked on his door.

    He opened the door after a minute.

    “I am Akash, your neighbour, I heard a noise from your house, everything fine?”

    He nodded and gestured me to come in. His expressionless smile revealed silver teeth he had for two of his upper canines like the murderer in the novel I just finished writing. I smiled at the strange coincidence and went inside.

    I sat on the sofa as he excused himself and went to use restroom. It took me few minutes to realize that there were many things in that house which I wrote about in my novel. To make things more confusing, this man looked very similar to the murderer that I always imagined while writing the novel; including those two silver teeth. I started to sweat and I tried to believe this was a mere coincidence.

    The most terrifying of all were the following words on the wall written with a sketch.

    “I am not a Romeo. I rather want to kill her than to die for her.”

    As I finished reading those words on the wall, I had to shout loudly to believe I wasn’t dreaming.

    He rushed out of the bathroom and asked me if everything was fine.

    I wrote these exact lines and those were written on the walls of the murderer’s house in my novel which I used as a crucial clue in solving the murder mystery.

    “What is your name?” I asked him dreading to not to hear the same name.

    “Rakesh. Friends call me Raku.”

    The same name as in my novel. As if that wasn’t enough to make me go insane, as I started walking towards the door, I saw a knife that had a pink rubber handle similar to what my character used to kill a woman in the first page of my novel.

    I hurried to see if Priya was sleeping. I woke her up and asked her to kiss me. She wiped the sweat off my forehead and kissed me. I knew it wasn’t a dream any more.

    I never slept that night.

    — Couldn’t finish in less than 500 words. My next comment has the ending of the story 🙂

  13. JR MacBeth

    “Glad you called Ma’am, Yeah, it’s bizarre, but we’ll check it out.” The detective had heard it all, or so he thought. This was a new one. The vic’s thumb drive, with hundreds of pages detailing his own murder. He was tempted to arrest the wife on the spot. What was she thinking, handing in this story, all too convenient, a finger now pointing at the new neighbors? But that was her Reader’s Digest version. He decided he would study this new piece of evidence carefully. If she had done it, no doubt it would be obvious.

    From the first line he was hooked, “In the event of my untimely death…”. He couldn’t stop reading, he stared at his screen, taking notes, but it was such a good story, he forgot all about the notes, leaving most of his page blank. Goosebumps hit him every third or fourth page. If the woman had contrived this whole thing, she must have planned it down to the last detail. But her husband was only dead 24 hours when she handed him the story. He couldn’t imagine anyone coming up with something so elaborate. Surely she knew this pointed right back to her. But she wasn’t a serious suspect to begin with. He was so confused. He continued reading, ignoring his cell phone, holding his bladder. He could smell the food his neighbors were cooking. He was hungry, but it all could wait.

    He was hungry and he wanted to pee badly, but Detective Barnes couldn’t stop reading.

    Knock! Knock! Knock!

    Barnes momentarily froze. He instinctively reached for his pistol. The knock at his door at that precise moment, the moment his name first appeared in the story, filled him mind-numbing dread. He got down on the floor, sure bullets were about to come flying through his door, wishing he could have read just one more page. What the hell was going to happen to him?

    Knock! Knock! Knock!

    He opened his eyes.

    Knock! Knock! Knock!

    “Joe! Get up! Open the friggin’ door! Time to get up!”

    He looked around his room. It was morning. A school morning. Damn!

    “Yeah, I’m up! I’ll be out in a minute!”

    “I made you bacon and eggs. Get it while it’s hot!”

  14. cmm0617

    Chewing my nails, I watched him set two large duffel bags into the trunk of his brand-new Toyota. Every single detail was there. He wasn’t missing an iota of detail in the resemblance and behavior of my own character named Mort. I wondered what his real name was as he put his car in reverse and backed down the drive. He was headed east, just like I’d written. I took five deep breaths and then started my car, headed down the road after him.

    What the hell was his real name anyway? Where had he come from and why was he becoming every single detail from my most recent novel? His hair was clearly a bad dye job and the car was brand new, no tags even. “Mort” was someone else entirely, choosing my block to draw me in. I had seen these things play out in my head so many times before and now, I knew that he was doing this to mess with me. There was some score to settle that I was unaware of, but now I had the upper hand. I knew where he was going because it had all been written before.

    As I tore down the block, going to find the shop keeper’s daughter from the Farmer’s Market store that I’d written the story about, but as I sped down the turnpike toward the city, something struck me as odd. If “Mort” knew that I was the author of that book, which everyone did, the neighborhood threw me a party last week for the New York Times’ Best Seller showing for God’s sake, then why was he doing this next to me? Clearly it had to be for my attention, but in that case, he knows that I know his next move. Suddenly, I no longer feared for the girl who tends to the vegetable coolers in the city, but rather for myself.

    He knows that I’ll follow him and try to stop him. He knows that I will have no choice to do it myself, because who would believe me? What would the police say if I called and said, “Um, yes, hello officer. I need to report a murder that hasn’t taken place yet by a psychopath copying the plot of my book who happened to move next door to me a couple months ago.” I don’t think so. I am stuck and there is no one to turn to.

    Instead of the city, I take a sharp turn to the abandoned warehouse where my heroine dies. The gravel crunches under my tires as I grind to a halt. As I walk toward the door with the broken padlock, my stomach does somersaults, threatening to heave my breakfast for a reappearance. If only this were a bad dream. Pushing open the creaky door, I call out, “Mort, I think you’ve been expecting me.”

    And he had. The axe-head came down cleanly through my neck.

  15. sarahbecker

    ‘Patty sat in her car sipping her tea. The rain pounded softly against the roof.’

    I had even predicted the weather.

    My car stood a block behind Patty’s, the real Patty’s, car. I could see clearly enough to know that everything I had written was coming true. My heart raced in my chest.

    Two of the most important things in the world right now: 1. I had written, predicted, events that were being carried out right before my eyes. And 2. Someone was going to die.

    The strangest part was that I hadn’t fully finished my novel yet. I’d only written to the point of the discovery of the murder. I didn’t know who the victim is, or was, or is going to be. That was supposed to be the Big Reveal.

    I had one chapter left to go – one that’d I written and rewritten but could never find the right fit for the characters. Patty, sitting in her car oh so close to my own, had a very strong motivation: her father had been murdered, and throughout her life she’d fallen deeper and deeper into the psychology of a killer, finally becoming one herself. And since her father’s murderer had never been caught, she felt, no, she knew that she could never be caught either.

    My Macbook Pro sat on my lap as I stared at the words on the screen. Scrivener was open to full screen mode: no distractions.

    A strange calm overtook me, like a drape had been pulled across a window during stormy weather. My fingers twitched over the keyboard. I closed my eyes and I wrote:

    ‘The rain came down harder now.’

    I breathed deeply: it had started to rain harder.

    ‘Patty felt the pull, the cold screwdriver pull in her belly that this was it. This was the moment. She stifled a scream of impatience. Placing the tea in her cup holder she set one hand against the door handle.

    A few people ran past her car. Those without umbrella’s used newspapers and briefcases. Patty smiled. She had no need for an umbrella. Rain never bothered her. In fact she welcomed it.

    “Time to die.” She said aloud. Then once more for good luck. “Time to die.”

    Opening the door she realized she’d parked too close to the curb and it made that horrible scratching sound. She closed her eyes and breathed through her nostrils. No noise. Not now.

    She got out of the car, closed the door, and walked down the block.

    The little red Honda sat on the other side of the road. The small man inside looked to be either asleep or in some sort of trance.’

    I opened my eyes and looked to my left. Patty stood on the corner staring at me.

    Two of the most important things in the world right now: 1. She didn’t want to be caught. 2. I, as the writer, was the only one who knew what she was doing.

  16. jenjane

    At last Damien Wright was out of my life for now. I had posted the completed Manuscript of my latest novel to the publishers today. A feeling of relief and release overwhelmed me. I poured a glass of red and sat out on the veranda to enjoy the setting sun over my quiet neighbourhood. I had been so consumed by completing the book, I hadn’t notice the new neighbours moving in across the road. A tall and well built man crossed the street heading in my direction.
    “Hello there. I’m Damien, my family and I moved here during the week.” He seemed nice, but there was a familiarity to this man I found unnerving. Obviously, his first name being the same as my fictional character, but also the way he walked. He had a huge gait in his stride, which told me this man was on a mission.
    “I’m Sonja. I hope you like the neighbourhood. It’s quiet, not much happens.” I replied “Got time for a wine?” I offered.
    “Thanks, but I need to get back to Mrs Wright, Oh, I mean my wife, you know I’m in trouble when I call her the Mrs!!” He smiled as he explained.
    I choked as I took a sip of my wine, Damien Wright! My Character has come to life? I eyed him as he strode back across the road. I tried to justify what just occurred. I knew this book consumed my life for the past few years, but now to visualise the midnight murderer living next door. Crazy! I told myself as I put the wine away. I don’t need encouragement from a bottle for my imagination to get carried away. But for safety sakes, I best keep an eye on him and hope the plot of my novel doesn’t eventuate.
    Over the next couple of days I secretly monitored Damien’s movements. He appears to be a keen gardener and enjoys reading, what looks like a pile of A4 papers roughly bound together. By day three I witnessed him dig a huge hole in his backyard. No this is becoming too real; I had to step in before someone is murdered, that is if my novel story is anything to go by. I waited for Damien to take his reading material out on the veranda as he usually did just after 5pm each day. As he settled into the white wicker chair, I quickly crossed the street and approached him. Still trying to find the words to confront him, I noticed the front page of what he was reading. “The Midnight Murderer”. My manuscript! Too many words were trying to escape my now trembling lips.
    “How? What the? Oh that’s mine!” I spluttered as I tried to snatch it from his grasp.
    “Hang on” he said, standing now to confront me. “I’m a publisher and I have been reviewing this story”
    “That’s my story” I managed to say stepping backwards away from his towering bulk.
    “This is written by a man, James Larkin” He argued.
    “My pseudo name” I whispered looking down. I then realised I’m not the one on trial here. Looking up I questioned him “I’m a writer using a different name. What’s your excuse for being Damien Wright” Smiling he replied “I get into the character literally to experience the real story, I’m sorry if I have worried you, I’m not a Midnight Murderer, my name is Brian”.

      1. jenjane

        Thanks DMelde. I hadn’t put much thought into my characters names, they just seemed to roll into the story. I just did a search, Damien is a current Australia Cricketer, James was an Irish Social Activist from the 1800’s. Funny!!

  17. heathermichelle

    After finishing my long over due novel I couldn’t help but notice a new set of neighbors sitting outside. How long have they been here? Have I been working so hard on my novel that I didn’t even notice new neighbors next door?
    Wow, she is incredible beautiful. Maybe I should clean myself up before I go introduce myself.
    “Hunnie, we have new neighbors,” I yell to my husband as if he isn’t sitting another desk away.
    “You do know they moved in last week, right?” He says that like I have only been staring at my computer screen playing on Facebook or something.
    “No I haven’t notice, let me clean up and we can go introduce ourself.”
    A few hours later we head next door to be the friendly neighbors in town. I was right; she is too beautiful, long blonde hair with a beach wave to it. She is the great next door, the girl I always wished I looked like. Her name, Emily. Her house, decorated all too well. Something I have seen before? Something I have imagined? Why does this house look so familiar? Something just is not right. I tried to explain this to my husband but of course he doesn’t understand. He tells me, “It’s all in your head and that writing that you’re doing. Maybe you should take a break and get a part-time job.” Not this time, something is strange about our new neighbors.
    Later that week I couldn’t believe my eyes. She was driving that same familiar car that I couldn’t put my finger one. It only took seconds this time around for me to completely realize. She was my character. It could not be. There was no way a novel I had just submitted to my editor had been read. Did she somehow get ahold of my story? Was she trying to become my character?
    Weeks had passed and things didn’t seem to change. It wasn’t until later that I came home to find her in my house talking with my husband. I definitely did not like that. There was something about her that I didn’t want to be around or want my husband to be around. The second she left or more me kicking her out of my house in a somewhat pleasant way. I explained to my husband that I didn’t want her over here; not out of jealousy but out of it all becoming too much like my novel. He wouldn’t listen to me, said again that it was all in my head. He continued to go to their house and her come to ours.
    Until I couldn’t get ahold of my husband. Until I couldn’t get ahold of her. I knew where they would be. I knew she had taken him. I busted in their house to find him tied up in the basement. How did such a small women take down such a big man. He was hurt and my heart was breaking, but next thing I know she is coming up behind me. I knew she would be there, I spun around on my knee kicked my leg out and tripped her. I jumped on top of her and tied her down with her own rope; or my own rope? I don’t know. I got my husband to the hospital and the police took care of her. I then could not help myself but to tell him, “I told you so.”

  18. SarahBear

    “No…” I stared, dazed, out of the dusty window at the man unpacking boxes from the moving van parked in his driveway. Everyone knew someone was moving into the house across the street, in this intimate suburban neighborhood, gossip spread like wildfire. Why was it that no one had described him to me? If they had, maybe I would have been prepared for this “I-know-you-from-where?” feeling that was so ruthlessly attacking me. I ran through my head all of the dark haired, muscular, tan skinned, movie star good looking men I knew. For a brief second, I even allowed myself to compare him to Roland Greene, the seductive murderer in my newest book, Looks Can Kill.

    My memory failing me, I started across the street to his new home to introduce myself. If he knew me, he would say something.

    He noticed as I got closer and turned to greet me. My heart instantly melted as he flashed me a huge grin. He quickly raised his eyebrows, waiting for me to speak, but the gesture hinted he had a cute, sweet side that matched his handsome looks. His cool blue eyes locked on me and I momentarily imagined them being able to see more than just my physical appearance, but my soul as well. This man definitely shared a huge resemblance to Roland.

    Suddenly, an excerpt from my book jumped out at me.

    … … …

    “He stooped behind my chair, rechecking the knots a fourth time, apparently untrusting of his first three inspections. In the corner of my eye, I notice him smiling. Oh, that beautiful smile. How could I still be falling for him? I steal another glance at him. He seems calm, as if the full impact of what he’s doing hasn’t hit him yet. I realize I’m not the first to fall victim to his little routine; he’s too relaxed for this to be a first time.

    First, you try to introduce yourself to him. He flashes you a heart melting smile and starts a conversation. He raises his eyebrows as if to tease you, but all that you can think as he does this is about the playful, cute side you want to get to know. From there he asks you on a date, his piercing blue eyes forcing you to say yes. The date goes well and he invites you over once more. This time though, instead of spaghetti waiting for you, he has a metal chair and nylon rope hidden in his dank basement. Just hours after ringing his bell, you are being held captive in a room full of past ghosts that seem to scream at you. A few more hours go by and you become just another ghost in that room, waiting to scream at the next girl forced to die just like you did.

    … … …
    “I’m Roland,” he informs me, sending a chill down my spine and bringing me out of my haze.
    “Maria,” I say with a polite smile.
    “I’m sorry, Maria, but I’ve really got to bring in these boxes then unpack and blah, blah, blah. Do you think we could get to know each other later?” as he said this, Roland gave me yet another smile. “Maybe we could have dinner at my house, to officially meet and celebrate my new home.” His blue eyes stared into me and I felt weak.
    “Yes, that sounds great,” I answer almost hypnotically, still looking into his eyes.

      1. SarahBear

        Thank you so much! I’m only 12 and when I saw you commented I couldn’t help but scream to my dad, downstairs, “Dad! SOMEONE COMMENTED ON MY STORY!!! THEY LIKED IT!” Haha. Thanks again.

  19. Bonnie Stewart

    After spending the past week closed away diligently working to finish my latest novel, it felt really good to be out enjoying the fresh air.
    I could see the McKewan farm across the field. They had befriended me when I bought the property across the road two years ago.
    I paused when I noticed a strange truck in their driveway. I knew three of their children had cars and the fourth had a minivan so the visitor was not one of them.
    “Hi Amanda, so good to see you, you must have finished your book.” The older lady said as she pulled up alongside me.
    “Yes” I replied. “I just today”
    “Oh that’s wonderful dear, so then you are free to join us for dinner.” It was more a statement rather than a question.
    I glanced at the unknown truck in the drive as I tried to think of a reason not to go. Mrs. McKewan followed my gaze.
    “Our nephew is staying with us for a while. He’s had a rough time of it lately and needed somewhere quiet to sort things out.” She explained as I climbed into the passenger’s seat so we could drive to the house.
    It was not until Mrs. McKewan parked the old farm truck that I saw her nephew over at the barn door.
    “Keegan, I’d like you to meet someone” Mrs. McKewan called to him as she rounded the front of the truck and headed towards the man.
    “Keegan” I whispered to myself. Not only because it was an unusual name but, because that was the name of the villain in the novel I had just completed.
    As he walked towards us I noticed the longer piece of hair that was died green and had a strip of leather interwoven within it.
    Close enough now to see the color of his eyes I thought to myself that this simply cannot be. Staggered by his one green eye I mechanically extended my hand to shake his and muttered a greeting.
    He snorted an acknowledgement at me, then spun on his heel and stormed away, but not before I saw the tattoo on his neck.
    Mrs. McKewan just shook her head as we started into the old farm house.
    “Have you ever told me about him Mrs. M, I can’t help but feel I know him?” I asked as my mind went back to my novel.
    “Oh no dear, he’s my sisters’ boy and we were never close.” She leaned in and lowered her voice as she continued. “Besides, he’s spent a lot of time in and out of jail and involved with gang activities. Not the type of things I wanted around.”
    Just then I looked out the kitchen window to see Keegan unwrap the knife with the carved handle.
    I do not know how, but I no longer have any doubt that he is Keegan Crevier. How am I so certain? Because that knife, like the name, eyes, hair and tattoo combination, does not exist outside of my mind.
    “What have I done!” I asked as I ran out the door.

  20. chait4me

    Marilyn’s mornings usually began sitting on the porch, drinking her tea, and watching the parade of ritualistic walkers and joggers. Her nights were always consumed by her novel, so her exercise was of the mind; rather than one physically. While contemplating the next plot, a new jogger surfaced sporting a very familiar appearance. It was as though she knew him; she couldn’t help but watch, even though his mere presence sent an unsettling chill to her very core. His every movement was as if he moved to her every thought. His presence caused a sense of curiosity for the rest of the day and night; who was this stranger or did she already know?
    She soon realized this stranger was Kevin, a serial killer of her newest novel. Not a stranger, but a killer, her neighbor, and soon he’ll kill again. Her mindset went from fear, to obsessive curiosity; and she knew she had to follow him. She shadowed his every step, knowing his every move, and even at times his every thought. Her one defining thought was, she knew his every movement sometimes even before he did; and he had to be stopped. Marilyn soon realized that she was destined to be the fated hero, because now being inside his head; she knew the fate of the next victim.
    Kevin was a serial killer, obsessed with the crucifixion of martyrs; his modus operandi. Marilyn soon realized his next victim would depict ‘Joan of Arc’. She would be female, and around the age of nineteen; as was Joan at the time of her death. The victim’s fate would be tied to a mast of a sailboat, set afire, and she’d then adrift out to sea. Marilyn was aware that in Kevin’s mind, this would be symbolic as she perished in the sea; a baptism of sorts. Marilyn, as if a character in a novel; knew her destiny was fated to save ‘Joan’; so she’d stalk Kevin as he stalked ‘Joan’. Each day she mirrored Kevin’s movements; as she knew them all too well. Each day he would go to the marina and patiently watch, until he found the perfect victim. It would be today, and Marilyn saw her; as did Kevin. Marilyn now had to heroically save her from Kevin. She quickly headed in the young girls direction and tried to get her attention; when all went black. The last thing she remembered was frantically running towards the girl with the long brown hair. As Marilyn awoke to extreme pain, her fog soon turned to smoke; she realized she wasn’t the hero at all; but the victim. It didn’t make sense, as Marilyn didn’t fit the profile; but none the less, she was the one tied to the mast of a burning sailboat-drifting off to sea. This wasn’t the way the novel was to end; but then again to every murder mystery there is a twist. Marilyn’s fate, although in a sense heroic; her character was, a twist of fate.

  21. Icabu

    My high from selling twenty-seven books at the signing in Detroit wilted as I turned onto my street in Dearborn to find a moving truck nearly blocking the road. After waiting for cars to crawl by, I shot past, squealing tires into my driveway.

    With indignant indifference, I swept into my home, slammed the door and then gawked out the front window.

    Muscle-bound beefcakes wrestled a large sofa out of the truck. A slimmer man stood behind the truck, apparently giving directions. This must be the new man of the new house, choreographing the movement of his belongings. The man turned and looked directly at me as more of his furnishings exited the truck.

    Shock held me at the window until I was certain he’d seen me. I jerked back, but the damage was done. I’d been spotted gawking. But it was worth it. Somehow, the new neighbor looked very much like the antagonist in my book. The killer.

    I closed my eyes, pressing fingers against my temple as memories flooded into my mind. I’d thought writing the book would help with the headaches remembering my sister’s death brought. I’d given the protagonist, Penelope, closure to her neighbor’s murder – which happened to mirror my sister’s horrific demise. Taking the only clue in my sister’s case, a vague description of a ‘surfer-type’ seen in the neighborhood, I created the character of Lance Miller and he was arrested, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison. As my sister’s killer should have been.

    Emptying the cookie jar into a baggie, I strode across the street, greeting my new neighbor.

    “Ashley Ellicott,” I said, cocking my head toward my house, “welcome to the neighborhood.” I handed over the cookies.

    “Thanks,” he said.

    His sandy hair and deep tan definitely looked out of place for early May in Michigan. It would fit right for San Diego, where my sister was killed. I’d fled to Dearborn afterwards, feeling uneasy, watched. My stomach tingled in that same way now as the new neighbor looked at me.

    “Lawrence Miller,” he said, “everyone calls me Lance, though.” He smiled. “Thanks for the cookies.”

    Any color I had drained away. How could he have the same name as the killer in my book?

    “Careful with that,” Lance said as I stood numbly. “Just put that stuff in the garage for now.”

    He pulled me out of the way as three movers struggled with a large table saw. I knew what it was because the police had told me that’s what had cut up my sister, after the strangulation. This one was shiny, new looking.

    “I do woodworking … and stuff,” Lance said as I stared at the saw. “I finally ditched my trusty old equipment and bought new.”

    Pulling my gaze from the struggling movers, I stared at Lance. His hand grasped the bag of cookies in a stranglehold, his knuckles white. The grin on his face sent cold shivers down my spine.

    “I haven’t christened it yet,” he said.

    1. JR MacBeth

      Great story icabu! This is one that ended too fast. I have a feeling Lance would have got what’s coming to him with another thousand words. I could almost visualize that table saw working karmic magic on his skull… (Hey, Halloween is just around the corner after all!)

  22. peetaweet

    I suppose there was nothing striking about the new proprietor of 34 Carter Street. He was of average height and build, with thick dark hair that contrasted with his pale milky skin.

    The first month he kept to himself, I watched, as my chores went unnoticed. Being retired and a widower, I snooped through the windows of my house, watching his comings and goings. As a writer, I became absorbed with the mysterious character, walking Henry up and down the cul de sac, an excuse for taking a closer look, as there was something vaguely familiar about him.

    One evening as Henry worked at his bowl on the floor, I looked out across the deck and to the dark house next door. A single light came to life in the basement window, glowing in the darkness when suddenly the narrative took hold. With my curiosity piqued, I opened the kitchen door and stepped out into the warm night.

    Approaching the window, my archaic mind began indexing the hundreds of thousands of words that I had committed to paper over the years; screenplays, stories, the three novels. Two words keep bursting to the surface, the killer.

    I crouched down, peeking into the window while igniting a sharp pain from my lower back. I saw Bosely, frantically digging into the dirt floor of the basement. He stabbed the dirt violently with his shovel, under the single rudimentary light bulb that hung overhead. This scene needed a storm I thought seconds before feeling a single rain drop fall on my hand. Bosely Conner, how did I know that? A crack of thunder boomed as the air stirred, I backed away from the window, unsettled.

    I hobbled up the steps to the deck, entering the kitchen, the name Bosely Conner stabbing my thoughts as I ascended the stairs to the attic. I began with the boxes of manuscripts, unleashing the years of my labor into the air, fumbling through the musty titles as I searched for the plot. I froze as I heard the heavy steps on the wooden deck outside. Back to the box, I found it, The Stranger in the House; my hands trembled as I flipped through the pages. Bosely Connor…..opens the door…..knife…..bodies in the basement. The kitchen door opened slowly. Back to the manuscript, the door turns slowly…up the stairs….breathes his last breath…

    I jumped to my desk, to my trusty Underwood typewriter, my hands trembling as I opened the white out, slapping the brush across the last paragraph. The first step squeaking as my fingers hit the keys, picking up speed as they raced the 13 remaining steps on the staircase. He trips… I punched in a flurry, a desperate attempt to buy time and change my fate. I heard him stumble in the stairway, back to the script; I banged away, click, he enters the room.

    “Mr. Higgins, I’m sorry to intrude, my name is Bosley Conners, from next door. You have to see what I’ve found in the house.”

  23. clillianjohn

    Abigail Tamden murdered her neighbor in self-defense, or so she claimed. She moved to Arizona after the trial, where no one knew of the murder, much less that she cunningly planned it from the moment she tracked down the man who stole her father’s money.

    I happily pop the finished manuscript into the publisher’s envelope and head off to the post office. My new neighbor’s driveway is filled with a huge moving van, and I decide to stop by on the way back.

    My reflection in her storm door reveals blond hair fashionably messy, rectangular glasses that highlight my green eyes, slight stubble on my chin, and a smudge on my nose. I hurriedly wipe away the dirt as the door opens in response to my knock.

    She takes my breath away. Gorgeous auburn hair caresses broad shoulders and frames an oval porcelain-skinned face with bright blue eyes and a beauty mark just above the right side of her mouth. She smiles very sweetly, and I have a vague sense of familiarity, almost a déjà vu. My Abigail Tamden resembles her, though the flesh and blood version is much more fetching.

    “Welcome! I live next door.”

    “Thank you. It’s good to be settled again, or at least beginning to be settled again.” She steps aside, and motions me in. “Join me for a cup of tea?”

    “Sure.” I enter into the foyer, and pause. The living room is bare.

    “Don’t worry,” she assures me. “There are chairs in the kitchen.”

    “I thought you’d have a house full of boxes from the van this morning.”

    A slight pause indicates overstepped boundaries, but she quickly recovers and says “All I need is in the attic. I’ll bring it down when I need it.”

    I fervently wish she’d moved in sooner. Her look, her obvious intelligence, her mystery – all were what I hoped Abigail conveyed, but with this real-life model before me, I second-guess myself.

    “I’m Jim, by the way.”

    “I’m Abby,” she tosses over her shoulder, missing my wide eyed reaction. In her shoes, I would be freaked out, so I refrain from telling her about my naughty protagonist’s name.

    We spend a pleasant few minutes chatting about the neighborhood and town. She asks questions, and I answer them, and she asks another. Later, I realize she was in control of the conversation. In my own home, where I created Abigail Tamden, awareness seeps into my sleep deprivation and I begin.

    Every evening for weeks now I have watched her appear briefly in the downstairs lighted windows before she moves up to the attic for the duration of the night. She does not leave the house, does not have a car, does not seem to need sustenance, and does not have any animals. The similarities to my Abigail unavoidably plague me, and I know she is not unpacking. I know the ending. I know she is after me.

    I am ready. Tomorrow night she makes her move. So tonight I make mine.

  24. slayerdan

    Neighborly curiosity led me to observation. Then amusement based on coincidence.

    And now paranoia.

    I write less and less now, so much of my days spent at the window, peering at my new neighbor. Jack Torrance moved in 4 months ago, directly across the street. At first his name made me giggle, as did his overall appearance. It matched perfectly to the main character in my last novel, The Glowing. I remember thinking to myself he could play Jack when my novel became a movie. I laughed about it.

    Then Jack struck up a relationship with Joan next door. I laughed a bit at that too. Then In a whirlwind she sold her house and moved in with Jack. Then left to visit her mother. That was a month ago.

    She has yet to return.

    It all happened exactly as it did in my novel. Jack moves in, the widow next door moves in with him. Then disappears. In that same story Jack took a night job for a security company, would have a male visitor everyday between 1245pm and 2pm, and always hauled away his own trash. Jack Torrance across the street does the same.

    If I were a writer of Stephen King-like fame I might think I was being punked for tv or tricked by an old college buddy. I however am not that famous. It is quite disconcerting however that I am as paranoid as a character from a King story.

    My desk isn’t as convenient for me as it was in the den. Moving it near the window so I could watch his house while I write has screwed up my writing Feng Shui. Or it could be the curiosity. Or quite simply the paranoia.

    “What the blast am I doing?” I grumble , throwing myself back in my chair, hands on my head,” do I really think this guy is from my book?” A fresh cigarette does little to stop my frustration, leaning forward again and sneaking a quick peek through the one open blind.

    He is in his front yard, shirtless, putting bags in the back of his truck. He has a large spot on his upper left shoulder that wasn’t there before. My heart doubles its pace and I do a last drag on my cigarette, killing it. The spot on his shoulder, it’s a tattoo.

    Just like chapter 9.

    Mouth still hanging open, realization takes full grasp. Chapter 9 a tattoo. Chapter 16-kill the neighbor across the street. The thought of this gripped me just long enough to not process Jack had walked across the street, and was now at the door. A heavy handed, rhythmic rap followed.

    Fear as my guide, I made it to the door.

    “Hello, Dan, how are you?” he asked comfortably.

    “Ok I s’pose, what can I do for you?”

    “Just wanted you not to worry about chapter 16,” he replied, not missing a beat,” killing you kills me, and I like this life you created.”

    1. DMelde

      “Don’t open that damn door!” is what I would be yelling at the screen if this were a movie. How many people die because they open that door, or go in that basement, or hear a noise and just have to go have a look-see. I liked the progression from curiosity to amusement to paranoia, and then finally, to fear. Good story.

  25. onaway

    I watched my neighbor pass out in front of the television. The neighborhood was quiet and boring so I spied on the neighbors and pretended to like them during the day. The old houses were built so close that you couldn’t help but see into the neighbor’s living room. George was a very old snoring and drooling cancer survivor and newlywed who watched football on a big screen TV. Marge was a very grumpy, bald, wig-wearing brute, a strangely agile witch. George puttered around the house and sometimes wandered out of the house and down the driveway and if he saw me, he would wave. Marge would hurry out and collect him, ushering him back into the house before anyone could ever talk to him.
    One day George’s daughter Josie had visited him. Marge made it clear to stay away from the girl. The old red-haired, four-eyed manatee in the flowered dress stood in her backyard grinning at me as I mowed my lawn. She dragged a fat finger across her neck, pointed at me, and laughed.
    “F— off,” I thought, as I smiled and waved back to her. It wasn’t long before Josie was visiting me regularly. She told me it was best to stay away from her parents, especially her stepmother. “Josie you worry too much,” I said one night as we fell asleep.
    August. It was a great summer night and we sat on the patio smoking cigarettes. It had been several weeks since we first did the deed and Josie still believed she was sneaking around, hiding from Marge. I paid no mind to it.
    “You don’t understand… she’s not what she appears to be,” she whispered.
    Josie became wide-eyed when she spied a candle moving down the hallway next door. We saw the candle stop moving, and we saw the bald grey head of Marge lean over the flame and snuff it out. Josie was frightened. “I have to go home. I have to leave.” It was late, I was tired and I wasn’t in the mood to argue with her.
    “OK. Can we have dinner this week?”
    “Sure.” She kissed my cheek and I walked her down the driveway. I sloughed back into the house and finally got some sleep. I awoke in the dark the way you do when you don’t know where you are and your eyes adjust to the dark. Everything looked grey anyway. It was absolutely silent and I rolled over off my shoulder. Marge was standing next to the bed and my first reaction was to smile up at her. Then he began breathing deeply. I could make out the red curls of his wig, the blue and yellow flowered gown and the shiny grey stone teeth grinning down at me in the dark. With a loud gasp, he raised his arms up and there was a split second where I could feel the ice cold steel of the sledgehammer on my forehead.

  26. CJEvershade

    January 12, 1881

    I stood firmly at my post, eyeing the distance across the Arctic Ocean like a wolf stalking rabbits. Though distanced by a wide layer of milky glass, my skin felt a violent nibbling as if submerged in that blue and burning void. Sleeplessness haunts my waking eyes as solitude has widowed me of all sanity. To fault is my own, as my writing had grown an appendage that feeds on emptiness like a blinded butterfly. I called upon that duty by withdrawing from all I once knew to a region that assumes all hollowness, spewing it into a freezing void like a drunken swab. The village is guarded by an expanse of limitless ocean to the North, which the few natives sing is poisoned by an ancient and forsaken creature. Acquaintance has met me only once, when the assumed native leader pronounced me “ende vorgot” or “last visitor” in that accursed tongue. Alas, the village swallowed another shape four nights ago; the natives must drink from the same spigot that orphans my own mind.

    January 23, 1881

    Seven nights have thusfar been restless due to nightmarish lulls in sleep. “Ende vorgot, ende vorgot!” The blackness in that native’s eyes howled like a fanatic animal battling prey. The torment began with the arrival of the new citizen. Each descent of what lesser light the day holds marks an eerie semblance to my writing’s central figure. My sleuthing of the village’s newcomer has shriveled any last logic I own, for his actions undoubtedly mimic my writing’s final act. Has this barren darkness absolutely absorbed my thoughts, have I put ink to parchment with a hand of the gods?!

    January 28, 1881

    The final line of my writing reads: “Approaching the door, he trembles into the abode and slays the man with a violent beat of sharpened iron – silencing the world from disruption.” Am I to be this fool, suffer at the cramping hands of my own? Of what disruption do I speak of? Nevermore! I will recast this dulled sword! The final line shall read: “Approaching the door, he trembles into the abode awaited by a maddened figure at his front; roaring ‘ende vorgot, ende vorgot’ the figure storms forward and slays him.” Sharp and angelic! I will send to Abyss my creature, singing the ancient anthems of this wasteland! I shall wait for the heathen.

    February 12, 1881

    Endless and stagnant vengeance claws at my aura as I await the beast. Has this land strangled me insofar I am frightened to encounter my own creation? Wait no more; I must taunt that empty fool! My shape crosses the encampment with a shivering tread. My dead eyes were animated as its door dragged me in. I gasped for air and displayed a terrible face to what stood inside the doorway. A shape is advancing violently, screaming native tongue!

    “Ende vorgot” echoed with force in a horrible cacophony, as a ring of village natives danced to its melody.

    1. wilson hara

      I’m going to leave this here. Your story was well written, it had a nightmarish quality that I enjoyed. I suppose because of the diary entires it reminded me slightly of Dracula….I really enjoyed this and would definitely continue reading.


    eZette Wescraven, rushed up her stairs the same time as I did mine, to escape the rain. Once again, we waved briefly, turned keys and disappeared inside our townhomes. My new neighbor was tall and shapely like the demented eZette character in my bestseller series “Not Your Concern. That night’s book signing was a success and I’d just placed my extra copies on the counter when the doorbell rang. eZette waved to me through the peephole. I opened the door…

    “Hi, May I borrow some Alum?” She asked.
    “I’m sorry I-“
    “Look inside your spice cabinet, top shelf on the right.”
    “I don’t use-“
    “Then, I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
    “What made you think-“

    She turned on her heels and left. I closed the door, rushed to the cabinet and was relieved I had no Alum. I heard a gate clang out back and moved to the window. I saw eZette walking towards the Warners’s home. I grabbed my raincoat knowing this was déjà vu. Lightning, sky danced as I followed and thunder sounded when she pressed their doorbell. The security system buzzed her in and shortly thereafter, l heard three gunshots.

    Pow! Pow! Pow!

    The house went dark and I pulled out my cell phone…

    “911. What’s your emergency?”
    “I need to report a murder.”
    “How do you know of the murder?”
    “I wrote about them in my book.”
    “Miss, you could be arrested and serve time for playing with this number.”
    “Who? Is this person in your little book?” The operator said sarcastically.
    “I’m serious! Please let me speak to your supervisor!”
    “Have you advised your neighbors? Do you drink or do drugs? Miss?”

    I hung up and hurried to tell the other residents. There were no signs of eZette or the Warners, so I made my way across the street to the Spencer’s home. I rang the bell but didn’t get an answer. The last house of our cul de sac belonged to the Wright family who were supposed to be on vacation. I silently prayed that they were. Upon investigation, I found their door opened.

    “HELLO, IS ANYBODY HOME?” I yelled.
    Silence! Inside, a silhouette carried a gun in the moonlight and when I moved, it moved.

    “Why are you doing this?” I asked.
    “You tell me!” A woman’s voice answered.
    “You’ll never get away with it!”
    “We’ll see about that!”

    “911 What is-“
    “I called earlier-.”
    “Oh My God! You’re the author!”
    “Ma’am please-“

    The silhouette moved closer.

    “I’m your biggest fan!”
    “This is not the-“
    “I can’t believe I’m talking to my favorite writer.”

    Star lights sparkled on a raised gun.

    “Please send-“
    “I figured it out! The murderer kills simply because she can and uses Alum to clean up blood right?”
    “But who’s the murderer’s last victim?”

    Pow! Pow! Pow!

    “Hello! Mrs. Krueger, are you there?”
    Next day headlines…
    “Bestselling author Alfreda Kruger murdered! Serial Killer still on the loose!”

    1. onaway

      I like this. There are some good ideas, but it feels rushed which usually should be avoided. It reads like you’re just telling a story of good ideas, instead of writing it out. But that may have been your intention with this prompt… keep up the good work.

      1. wilson hara

        Mckevin, I enjoyed this too. It reads like a movie scene…I liked the opening paragraph, rushing up the stairs, the rain, waving at each other. And onaway is right about the idea being good : actually I really liked it, crazy fan etc. it’s written…breathlessly, and energetically, I’m starting to get used to the way you write! I find phone calls, police radio dispatches etc difficult to follow sometimes but in this case it worked. Well done.

        1. MCKEVIN

          Thank you for taking time to read my story. It sounds like you were going to say one thing and decided on another after you thought about it. Which is good I think because something clicked right? I believe there are as many styles of writing as there are writers. I write like you picked up a phone and an overheard a conversation that was too good to put the phone back on the hook. Or at least, that’s what I wanted to do. I’m glad you liked it. Thanks again.

  28. zo-zo

    Jade looks just like her, only sharper. Her chin has a stronger point, her wit more refined, and her Mediterranean-blue eyes gleam wickedly in the sunshine. The desire weaving through my fingers when I’d first created her rages through my body, making me electric. And perhaps a little stupid. That’s why I’ve kept my distance.

    When she arrived I watched her from my rocking chair on the porch. Watched her tongue touch her lips when she was talking to men and how she nodded her head constantly as she talked to their wives, making sure she stood a full step beneath them. I heard her laugh shatter the crisp fall air as she made them share the jokes that she found outrageously funny. I watched her ambush and defeat the neighbourhood, taking up her crown, in precisely twelve days.

    It’s day thirteen and she’s just knocked on my door. I should ignore it.

    But it’s one of those days where fall explodes, where the colours go all violent and stir me despite all my attempts to ignore them. And she arrives just as loneliness has set in, as if aware of my vulnerability.

    ‘Ben Withers? I’m Jade,’ she says. I try not to gape. Our nordic princess is visiting me – ME! The icy tracksuit flaunts her muscles. Women attracted to me usually wear baggy clothes that flaunt their fat.

    ‘I know who you are.’

    There’s a pause, a type of an understanding between us and she smiles slightly.

    ‘Join me on a walk?’

    A gut-level fear tries to intervene, but I squash it down with patchwork logic. There’s no scar on her hand and she doesn’t have a Russian accent. She honestly hasn’t noticed my balding hair. I’ve lived way too much in my head with make-believe murderers so it’ll be good to go for a walk and dispel all unease around this charming, harmless girl.

    ‘Sure.’ I shrug.

    At the nature reserve, her pace is swift and I struggle to keep up without wheezing.

    ‘So I hear you’re quite the writer.’

    ‘I suppose.’ That ‘s not a good sign, not a good sign at all. That’s just how she starts with men that she- But I stare at her and her eyes are big with awe, feasting on me. Awe is hard to fake, surely.

    ‘Everyone wants a piece of you right now.’ Flattery, Ben! She’s doing it! Don’t you remember this routine?

    She grabs my hand and sighs, nuzzling up to me like a convert. The smell of sandalwood and her slight sweat makes me dizzy with longing. The sexiest woman on the planet, with every feature I idealise, is coming onto me. I breathe her in and stop. Her hand is sliding methodically up my back.

    ‘Maybe we should turn around,’ I say,looking behind us to the hazy light where the forest starts.

    ‘Oh no,’ she says, leading me further into the shade of the bloody red leaves. Her fingers are cold as she hooks her hand around my neck. ‘I have something that I absolutely have to show you. I think you’ll like it.’

    1. MCKEVIN

      Damn ZoZo, you keep raising the bar for us to follow. This is goog. Why aren’t you published or have a blog, or at least have a book for me to buy? Good job!

  29. Morgan Le Fables

    Reality was a different world; one in which my body hadn’t yet been found. So as I hid behind a book, hunched over the pages of my newly published hard-cover novel, I kept reminding myself of that fact.

    I dared to grab a surreptitious glance at the tall man, as he ordered his cup of coffee, dropping my eyes as he looked around the empty shop. “Double shot of espresso please, black. Thank you”. He took the sting out of his gruff tone by casting a genial grin at the barista behind the counter of ‘Coffee Clusters’; the little local coffee shop I came to every morning.

    “Coming right up sir,” the barista replied, wearing an enthused smile as she started to ring up his order.

    “Sir makes me sound old”, he laughed his tone flirtatious. I shook my head in disgust; I’d watched this scene before, in fact I wrote this scene before. “Call me Joseph”. At his words my fear spiked, adrenaline rushing through me as his introduction came and went.

    Joseph my new neighbour, (who was sub-letting the house next door), bore too many distributing similarities to the protagonist in my latest novel. He was the same build, the same height, and even wore the same rare green eyes. From the slight limp in his left leg to the scar on his right cheek, it all fingered him as ‘Joseph’, the Lothario who ran an organised underground hit-man ring. From the moment I’d laid eyes on him, his every action had been that of the killer from my novel, ‘Love and Death’.

    Of course, the barista didn’t know any of this. “Alright then, Joseph”, she blushed; while I silently mouthed her every word before she’d even uttered them. “The boss wants staff to act formal all the time, but I’ll make an exception for you”, she chuckled.

    I’d been tracking Joseph’s movements for the past three days, ever since he introduced himself to me over the hedge of our adjoining gardens. It felt like watching a movie for the fourth time. I could predict his choice of direction, his beverage order, even which bar of chocolate he’d snag on his trip to the local newsagent.

    My fatal mistake however, was using my first name as the victims title. Despite writing under a pseudonym, I provided my book as clear proof of Joseph’s conspiracy to murder me, but my therapist didn’t buy it. She told me I’d ‘allowed my imaginary world to bleed into my reality’. And that I should remember ‘my work as a writer simply reflects what I see, it does not cause it’. I fired her by the end of the session.

    As Joseph spun around and leaned back against the counter, while he waited for his coffee order, I took a deep breath to try to calm my nerves. I prepared myself for what would come next. “Good book?” Joseph asked me as I caught his wandering eye.

    I nodded stiffly, rising out of my seat, leaving my book behind. After three days of researching – not stalking as my ex-therapist referred to it – I figured out how to prevent my murder. I needed to disrupt the chain of events that would lead him to hire a hit man to kill me.

    “It’s a very good book actually”. I couldn’t hold back the contempt from my voice and confusion washed across his face. He soon shrugged it away; instead choosing to spin back around to watch the barista finish preparing his cup of coffee.

    I moved in behind Joseph, braced to take uncharacteristic course of action, to stop this man from making a deadly phone-call.

    I lobbed my order over his shoulder. “I would like a half-caff skinny sugar-free caramel latte please”.


    Authors Note: Not too sure about this effort. It was hard to try to set up the scene (and fill in the extensive background story) in under 500 words. And even then, I still went well over the limit. What I’ve written feels like, (if it wasn’t for the story prompt explanation), the reader wouldn’t really know what was going on.

    1. slayerdan

      I think we all enjoy your take on the prompt each week, but I think you can drop the disclaimers that go with it–its a given you are not going to do 500 words.I dont always like that limitation either, but I strive for it, its part of the task.Going as far over as you usually do is def going to elevate your stories vs the others here as alot can be said in an extra 128 words. I dont mean to sound like an ass, but I anticipate your disclaimer each week as much as the story.

      1. Morgan Le Fables

        Thanks for the feedback Slayerdan 🙂

        I don’t really see myself dropping the disclaimer in the future though, as I view it as a kind of ‘full disclosure’. If I go over the word count, I want to be very clear about that fact.

        Plus its a great way to let readers know a little bit about the motivations behind the piece (I use the exact same disclaimer when I post the piece on both my blog and on fictionpress).

  30. wilson hara

    My son, Satoshi, died when he was 2 days old from a heart defect. My husband and I could no longer bare to see the reflection of our pain in each other’s eyes, so we separated. I live alone now, in a suburb of Tokyo and work in the local noodle restaurant. Like most parents that have lost a child, I imagine what my son would be doing IF ONLY. At night, when I can’t sleep, I write ‘The Adventures of Satoshi.’

    Recently, a father and his son moved into the building opposite mine. From my window I can look into their kitchen. The boy is maybe 15 or 16 and his name is Satoshi. My neighbor tells me that the man is a widower. He acts like a brute. Most evenings at 5 the boy, Satoshi, goes into the kitchen to prepare dinner. He wears a frilly floral apron, his mother’s perhaps? He listens to the radio and sings along. He makes me smile, I believe that MY Satoshi would have been like this boy.

    I slowly befriend Satoshi. He comes to my apartment and I prepare snacks for him. He tells me about his mother, I tell him about my son. He opens up about his father and I let him read ‘The Adventures of Satoshi’.

    One night, Satoshi and his father come to the noodle shop. His father orders the special for himself, noodles in broth with a pork cutlet, and for his son, just the noodles. I slide the bowls across the counter, and hope that the man chokes. He gobbles his food like a pig, then starts shouting.

    “USELESS! A waste of space!” He is addressing his son.
    The other customers glance over. Satoshi bows his head, I see the tears run down his cheek and fall plop plop into his soup.

    That night, I write ‘Satoshi’s Revenge.’ It involves rat poison, industrial strength garbage bags… the usual.
    I think Satoshi read that story because a few days later I see him in the supermarket, he is buying rat poison etc. I follow him out of the store and make him a promise.

    I do not use rat poison, instead, I prepare 1 raw chicken breast, frozen and defrosted, repeatedly. It stinks. I mince it with my knife, add kimchi and natto* and pour the whole mixture over rice. I put on some makeup and walk across to Satoshi’s building and up the stairs. I give Satoshi some money and tell him to go the cinema and not come home before midnight. At 6 his father comes home, he is already so drunk he does not even question my presence. I welcome him to the neighborhood, give him the bowl of food and leave. At 9pm the sound of violent retching reaches my ears. I run to his apartment; Satoshi’s father tells me he’s dying. I say I’ll drive him to the hospital. As we walk down the stairs, he doubles over to vomit again and I gently kick him. He falls. I run down to check, unfortunately he’s still alive, so I stick 2 fingers as deep as they’ll go down his throat, he heaves and I remove my fingers and cover his mouth with my palm. At the same time I shout for help. By the time the neighbors gather around, Satoshi’s father is dead. An ambulance arrives. I go back inside and sit on the couch to wait.

    (*natto is fermented soy beans, quite smelly, hopefully enough to mask the chicken)

    1. DMelde

      Ah, the two-fingered-choke-to-death-on-your-own-vomit technique. A very resourceful woman. This had (except for the two-fingers) an underlying sweetness to it in how she fought to protect the boy. Good story!

    2. onaway

      This made me hungry. Good job. I like the tone and the pace, it flows well. Make the most of the opportunities to describe a scene: you said “He falls.” This could have been written out and made visible to the reader- the painted stairs, the walls, the lights, the sounds, the blood, the bruises, etc. Avoid using “etc.” in your story, unless it is a punchline or something. It can make you look like a lazy writer, and I don’t believe you are. Good work.

      1. wilson hara

        Etc bugs me too, maybe it should be ‘..buying the articles I mentioned.’ (Slightly less clumsy)… I used in a desperate attempt to keep to the word limit!
        But I’m glad you think it flows, I was worried because I had to keep cutting. As for descriptions, am rubbish at it, but its something I definitely need to start working on!

  31. SarahBear

    “No…” I stared, dazed, through my dusty window at the man unloading boxes from the moving van. Everyone knew that there was a new neighbor moving in. Gossip spread through my small suburban neighborhood like wild fire, so why hadn’t I heard a single description of him yet? I wish I had, then I might have been prepared for the full fledged ‘I-know-you-from-from-where?” feeling ruthlessly attacking me. I ran through my head all off the brown haired, muscular, tan skinned, seemingly movie star good looking guys that I knew. For a split second I had even allowed myself to compare him to Roland Greene, the deceitful murderer in my newest book, Looks Can Kill.

    My memory failing me, I started over to his new house, with the intention of introducing myself. If he knew me he would say so.

    He was about to lift up another heavy looking box from the van when I caught his eye. He turned to me with a heart melting smile that warmed me in the cold December air. Up close I could see the startling resemblance he shared with Roland. In a partially joking, partially sweet manner, he raised his eyebrows at me briefly, awaiting my introduction. Suddenly, an excerpt from Looks Can Kill jumped out at me.
    . … … …

    “He stooped low behind the chair I was tied down to, inspecting the knots he still didn’t seem to trust after the first three inspections. Out of the corner of my eye, I got a glimpse of him smiling. Oh, that beautiful smile I had come to love in such a short time. How could I still be falling for him? It dawned on me that I couldn’t be the first to fall for his little routine.

    First, you introduced yourself. He gave you the heart melting smile with the quick raise of the eyebrows that brought out his cute, playful side. Then he starts up a conversation with you. His piercing blue eyes make it easy to believe in only speaking the truth. From there he invites you to dinner, an offer you can’t decline. A few days later he makes another offer: dinner again at his place. Once again you have no way to say no because you have by now fallen victim to his charm.

    But this time, instead of spaghetti waiting for you, you find yourself tied to a chair in a dank basement full of the ghosts from previous encounters, not unlike yours, merely hours after ringing his bell. A couple more hours goes by and you’re a few feet under the chilling Earth, never to be found again.”
    . … … …

    “Hello?” My new neighbor asks me, waking me from my trance. His eyebrows raise once more, this time with a trace of concern.

    “Oh, yes, I’m sorry! I guess I just got busy daydreaming there for a second. I’m Margie, you are?” I ask politely.

    “Roland Greene,” he states with another smile. I’m thrown off guard by his name, Roland Greene? No way. But then I look into his eyes, those deep, intesnse blue eyes that make me instantly forget the importance of his name.

    “What’s your phone number, Margie? Maybe we could get to know each other over coffee.”
    “Oh.. Ok. 555-555-5555” I answer hesitantly.
    “So what about tomorrow? Two O’clock fine, at Rupert’s?” he asks, his eyes still hypnotizing me.
    “Yah, that’s great,” I reply.
    “Awesome,” his smile has changed, more like he’s laughing at a private joke. He turns to resume unpacking the boxes and I start towards home.

  32. CJEvershade

    –The Last Visitor–

    January 12, 1881

    I stood firmly at my post, eyeing the distance across the Arctic Ocean like a wolf stalking rabbits. Though distanced by a wide layer of milky glass, my skin felt a violent nibbling as if submerged in that blue and burning void. Sleeplessness haunts my waking eyes as solitude has widowed me of all sanity. To fault is my own, as my writing had grown an appendage that feeds on emptiness like a blinded butterfly. I called upon that duty by withdrawing from all that I once knew to a region that assumes all hollowness, spewing it into a freezing void like a drunken swab. The village is guarded by an expanse of limitless ocean to the North, which the few natives sing is poisoned by an ancient and forsaken creature. Acquaintance has met me only once, when the assumed native leader pronounced me “ende vorgot” or “last visitor” in that accursed tongue. Alas, the village swallowed another shape four nights ago; it seems the native leader drinks from the same spigot that orphans my own mind.

    January 23, 1881

    Seven nights have thusfar been restless due to nightmarish lulls in sleep. “Ende vorgot, ende vorgot!” The blackness in that native’s eyes howled like a fanatic animal battling prey. The torment began with the arrival of the new citizen. Each descent of what lesser light the day holds marks an eerie semblance to my writing’s central figure. My sleuthing of the village’s newcomer has shriveled any last logic I own, for his actions undoubtedly mimic my writing’s final act. Has this barren darkness absolutely absorbed my thoughts, have I put ink to parchment with a hand of the gods?!

    January 28, 1881

    The final line of my writing reads as such: “Approaching the door, he trembles into the abode and slays the man with a violent beat of sharpened iron – silencing the world from disruption.” Am I to be this fool, suffer at the cramping hands of my own? Of what disruption do I speak of? Nevermore! I will recast this dulled sword! The final line shall read: “Approaching the door, he trembles into the abode awaited by a maddened figure at his front; roaring ‘ende vorgot, ende vorgot’ the figure storms forward and slays him.” Sharp and angelic! I will send to Abyss the creature born of my own mind and sing the ancient anthems of this wasteland. I shall wait for the heathen.

    February 12, 1881

    Endless and stagnant vengeance claws at my aura as I await the beast. Has this land strangled me insofar I am frightened to encounter my own creation? Wait no more; I must taunt that empty fool! My shape crosses the encampment with a shivering tread. My dead eyes were animated as its door dragged me in. I gasped for air and displayed a terrible face to what stood inside the doorway. A shape is advancing violently, screaming native tongue!

    “Ende vorgot” echoed with force in a horrible cacophony, as a ring of village natives danced to its melody.

  33. Andy Brackett

    It’s kinda funny, I was new to writing, professionally anyways. I mean I’d always thought I had the great American Novel within me but now it was actually happening. “666 Misery Lane” was going to be a number one!

    The wife and I were just popping the cork on a bottle of champagne to celebrate, the promise of my newfound career and life at home when we noticed the moving van two doors down. “That’s odd” my wife quipped, “Is someone already moving in to the old Weaver place?” I hadn’t paid much attention as of late with my focus being on the book, but Sandy was right, the Weavers had disappeared rather suddenly and now someone new was moving in.

    We sat and watched as the movers brought the standard moving fare in to the old house. Boxes, lamps, mattress and box spring and living room furniture all made the parade but what struck us both as curious was the inexplicably large freezer. Sandy looked at me and voiced exactly what I was thinking. “ That’s kind of like the freezer from your book, isn’t it?”

    She was right. The killer from my novel, John Richter, had just moved to a new neighborhood, and soon thereafter people started going missing. At the end of the book the victims were all found…in a rather large freezer in his basement. “ I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.” I told her. We sat and watched, sipping our champagne until the movers left and then returned to our rejoicing.

    The next morning after we awoke, we turned on the local news as we poured our ritualistic daily brew. The newsman was highlighting a story about a missing persons report. We stared in disbelief as the name Andrew Hawkins streamed across the bottom of the screen. Immediately we ran to the living room window and were taken aback by the yellow caution tape and flashing lights surrounding our neighbors drive. Mr. Hawkins was a kindly old man, a veteran of the world war and one of the nicest men you’d ever want to meet. And now he was missing.

    We both jumped at the ringing of our doorbell. I set my coffee down and walked to the door. “ It must be the police,” I said, “ they’re probably asking all the neighbors if they know anything.” I opened the door and froze. The man standing before me was the exact likeness of my killer from my book. The same height and build, 6’2, muscular yet lean. Ice blue eyes stared through a slight mist of blond hair draped over his brow. “I’m sorry to bother you this early, I’ve just moved into the house two doors down, and have yet to get to a grocer. Would it be too much to ask to borrow a cup of sugar for my coffee?”
    I stuttered, trying to find my words, when he added, “I am sorry, where are my manners? Let me introduce myself, my name is John…John Richter.”

  34. Midnight_Beauty

    Today was the worst day of my existence. Not that my days have been so great to begin with. I’m the school loser. Don’t feel bad for me. It’s been that way my entire life. I don’t have any memories of ever having friends. But sometimes the beatings made me feel as if I couldn’t go on. During those times, I would write.

    I never had the heart to do so many of the horrendous revenge tactics that I dreamed of. So I let Alex Stewart do it all for me. I’d just finished composing my final scene when my sister ran up to my room.

    “Hey John, we got new neighbors! They have kids to play…I mean hang out with!” she said. I loved how she tried to level up with me. She actually thought I was cool. I wasn’t. I’m not. I never will be.

    I don’t have time to write about all of this now, so I’ll get to the point. Alex Stewart and his family are now my neighbors. Now, at first I thought it was a coincidence. He just happened to have the same name as my protagonist. I wish it were that simple.

    Alex Stewart next door is the exact replica of my Alex. I hung out in his new room and talked with him. The bullies wouldn’t stop at his old school. He told me the stories that were reflections of my life.

    “People think I’m a joke,” He said. “We moved here to give me a fresh start for my senior year. “ As he looked at me, a chill ran down my spine. “I won’t have a bad year anymore.” He said. “This new school will accept me, or they’ll all die.” His laugh made me feel as if I were in the presence of a demon.

    I don’t remember anything else that he said because my mind was trying frantically to recall what happened in the novel. I couldn’t remember for sure. When I write, I write on impulse. I let the pain flow onto the page and move on.

    I went home to read it. Alex Stewart spent a week at his new school enduring everything that he always had. Then he cracked.

    Here’s where things get horrible. The novel is all about his revenge on the school. Despite the school not being the worst one he ever attended, he decided to teach every school a lesson.

    With a gun in his pocket and a horrible plot dealing with gasoline in the sprinkler system and a match, he takes down the entire school and all of the jocks, cheerleaders, teachers, and office workers become human candles! That is, all of the ones that aren’t shot or blown up. Those were the ones he didn’t have a problem with.

    The only survivors are the ones that were the most evil towards him. The ones Alex wanted to suffer with the consequences. They were the ones that Alex pulled out of the flames to live with deformities before he walked into the school to commit suicide.

    His only friend, Johnny, was left with instructions to tell his family how much he loved them and how sorry he was. Johnny was out of school with the flu all week.

    My throat has been sore since I lasted talked with Alex. We’re supposed to go to the arcade later and talk more. He said I was going to be his new best friend.

  35. DMelde

    – Cold and clammy was how Sammy loved his women. Every October he made pumpkins smile garishly using his carving skills. He went door-to-door selling his creations, and he was always on the look-out for the pretty girl who would become his next Halloween date. He always planned his date-night out to the smallest of details, because he only had just one date a year, and he wanted it to be special. The girl had to be pretty, and a little rebellious, someone the police would suspect of being a runaway after she was gone. The setting had to be quiet and secluded, and above all, it had to be romantic, because Sammy was romantic. For the past twenty years he chose his dates, and he took them to a romantic place, and once there he would, caringly, begin to carve.-
    Augury Presage stopped typing and leaned back in his chair. It was late night and time for bed. Sammy’s story could wait. Augury felt he had a good, strong character. As was his usual custom, he leaned forward and typed his prompt word before leaving.
    – Coccyx.-
    It sounded dirty to Augury, like someone was trying to say cock-sex too quickly, and the words got jumbled together. He nodded his head, stood, and went to bed.
    The following morning Augury woke up early to a knocking at his front door. Bleary eyed, he opened his door.
    “Good morning neighbor!” a man on his stoop said, “Pleased to meet you. My name’s Sammy.”
    Sammy pointed to his white van. A large orange Jack-O-Lantern with a toothy smile was on its side.
    “I do carvings at Halloween. I’m only in town for a few weeks. Can you tell me; are there very many children in this neighborhood?”
    A chill woke Augury up as it traveled down his spine. He didn’t believe in coincidences.
    “Where are you from Sammy?”
    “No place in particular, mister. I travel around a lot.”
    “And date only once a year”, thought Augury. He had to be sure, so he used his prompt.
    “Coccyx.” Augury said.
    Sammy smiled and looked away to the ground, as if he had just heard a dirty joke. Augury looked down too and tried to remember the last time someone had smiled like that.
    “Was it six years ago?” he thought. The safe word was coccyx. It always made them smile. Augury might not be the best writer around, but he did have a gift for bringing his characters “to life”.
    He looked at Sammy with a sympathetic smile.
    “Yes,” he told him, “there are a lot of children around here. I even have a map of the neighborhood in the house. Would you like to see it? It even shows where the rebellious ones live.”
    Sammy’s eyes lit up when he heard this. Eagerly, he followed Augury inside. Augury’s tools were at the ready, last used some six years ago. Sammy would never leave.

    1. onaway

      I really enjoyed this story. Good surprise ending. Maybe lose the last line or work it into the “Augury’s tools…” line to maintain that pace. Good work.

  36. TomV

    Jack-On-The-Block was my working title, but my agent Jerri Wheeler said the editor changed it to Creepy Crawlspace. Who cared? I was going to be published, with an advance of a sweet three bills against royalties, and since I was mostly subsisting on Beenie-Weenie and tap water, it looked like my fortunes were going to be looking up, way up.

    In my look at modern-day serial killers, I homed in on the fact that they rarely operated in their own neighborhood, especially if that neighborhood was an upscale subdivision. Maybe they didn’t like gates or something. Anyway, my killer character, Jack, was making the rounds, doing away with the neighbors one at a time, making his crime look like an accident, or natural causes. Air embolisms, falls, that sort of thing. Then, in keeping with the best of the genre, Jack would take a little souvenir from his victim and hide it in a box he kept in the crawlspace under his house.

    I know, I know. It sounds goofy, but it read really well. Bobby Massengil said my book was “brilliant!”. Stew Wunderlich tweeted, “creepy in the creepiest sense of the word!”. Melissa Havestock deemed it “Scary. Real. Real scary!”. I mean, if famous mystery writers like these liked it, then I was on Easy Street, right?


    See, I didn’t live in a gated upscale community, I lived in the neighborhood called, in such an ever-so-genteel manner, Dogpatch. The right side of the tracks was a long way from my humble abode, but I knew most all my neighbors, and we helped each other out as best we could, given our economic circumstances. Good as gold; they were all I had. We were a little tribe,

    A new guy moved in four doors down, next to Mrs. Swenson, the widow. This guy Jason was just a regular looking kind of guy, about middle age, going thin on top with a fuzz of gray fringe, a pot belly, and big hands. In fact, he sort of looked like my character Jack looked in Creepy Crawlspace, a little too ordinary, like hiding in plain sight. Quiet man in a quiet place.

    Then, Mrs. Swenson fell and broke her skull. Died on her kitchen floor. Then old man Adams went and had a heart attack and died before anyone even knew he had had one. Then, Arty MacGrim was apparently out working in his back yard and stepped on a rake, hit him square between the eyes, dropped him like bag of rocks; dead before he hit the ground, the cops said.

    And Jason just kept to himself, shy-like.

    I was beginning to have cold sweats, because Jack worked a lot like that, accidents and all; people alone, no witnesses. Easy Street was beginning to look like Un-Easy Avenue.

    I’m no private eye-type, and surely don’t rate high in the world of physical derring-do, but I was about to make Jason my business and leave my writing to fend for itself.

  37. JWLaviguer

    I had to take some time away. I’d been having nightmares; not just random nightmares, either. This has never happened to me before, but the nightmares featured a horrible, evil little man. I’ve created sinister characters in the past, but they’ve never left me afraid to fall asleep.

    I put the manuscript in the top left drawer of my desk in the study, locked it, and left. Just took off. As I was pulling out of the driveway, something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. I slammed on the brakes and held back a scream.

    “I was saying hello,” he said, “but you had a look 100 miles away. Sorry for startling you. I just moved in across the street and am in need of a ladder, if you have one. Oh, by the by, my name is Mel; Mel Evolent.”

    “No!” I yelled, and sped away. I turned right on the next corner and pulled into the high school parking lot, barely having enough wherewithal to hit the brakes and put the car in park before breaking down and crying.

    “I must be going crazy,” I thought. I slapped myself twice, the sting bringing tears to my eyes, and tried to convince myself I was still asleep and having another of those nightmares. It was no use. I was definitely awake, and most likely slipping into the depths of insanity.

    “I must have misunderstood his name,” I rationalized. “There’s no way he can look like him AND have his name too.” I sat there, trying to reason this all out. Same name, same hair and eye color, same creepy little nose.

    “He asked for a ladder,” I whispered. The character in my book used a ladder to climb up on people’s roofs at night and slip through the highest windows that people never kept locked (I needed to do something about the one in my house), and murder people in their beds.

    “If I steal all the ladders in the neighborhood, he’ll have to go buy one, and they can trace that back to him,” I said. “He’s too smart for that.”

    A week later, I had a dozen ladders in my garage. I tried to convince myself that I had done enough, but knowing what I really had to do, until I heard sirens coming up the street. Four police cars stopped in front of my house, the officers got out and crouched behind their patrol cars, pulled their guns, and told me to stop right where I was. A crime scene investigator came out of my garage after the cops had me on the ground and handcuffed.

    “There’s a lot of blood on two of the ladders,” she said. “We won’t know for sure until we get them back to the lab, but it doesn’t look good for this guy.”

    I looked across the street, and there was Mel, standing on his front steps, a knowing little grin on his face.

  38. evershade

    January 12, 1881

    I stood firmly at my post, eyeing the distance across the Arctic Ocean like a wolf stalking rabbits. Though distanced by a wide layer of milky glass, my skin felt a violent nibbling as if submerged in that blue and burning void. Sleeplessness haunts my waking eyes as solitude has widowed me of all sanity. To fault is my own, as my writing had grown an appendage that feeds on emptiness like a blinded butterfly. I called upon that duty by withdrawing from all that I once knew to a region that assumes all hollowness, spewing it into a freezing void like a drunken swab. The village is guarded by an expanse of limitless ocean to the North, which the few natives sing is poisoned by an ancient and forsaken creature. Acquaintance has met me only once, when the assumed native leader pronounced me “ende vorgot” or “last visitor” in that accursed tongue. Alas, the village swallowed another shape four nights ago; it seems the native leader drinks from the same spigot that orphans my own mind.

    January 23, 1881

    Seven nights have thusfar been restless due to nightmarish lulls in sleep. “Ende vorgot, ende vorgot!” The blackness in that native’s eyes howled like a fanatic animal battling prey. The torment began with the arrival of the new citizen. Each descent of what lesser light the day holds marks an eerie semblance to my writing’s central figure. My sleuthing of the village’s newcomer has shriveled any last logic I own, for his actions undoubtedly mimic my writing’s final act. Has this barren darkness absolutely absorbed my thoughts, have I put ink to parchment with a hand of the gods?!

    January 28, 1881

    The final line of my writing reads as such: “Approaching the door, he trembles into the abode and slays the man with a violent beat of sharpened iron – silencing the world from disruption.” Am I to be this fool, suffer at the cramping hands of my own? Of what disruption do I speak of? Nevermore! I will recast this dulled sword! The final line shall read: “Approaching the door, he trembles into the abode awaited by a maddened figure at his front; roaring ‘ende vorgot, ende vorgot’ the figure storms forward and slays him.” Sharp and angelic! I will send to Abyss the creature born of my own mind and sing the ancient anthems of this wasteland. I shall wait for the heathen.

    February 12, 1881

    Endless and stagnant vengeance claws at my aura as I await the beast. Has this land strangled me insofar I am frightened to encounter my own creation? Wait no more; I must taunt that empty fool! My shape crosses the encampment with a shivering tread. My dead eyes were animated as its door dragged me in. I gasped for air and displayed a terrible face to what stood inside the doorway. A shape is advancing violently, screaming native tongue!

    “Ende vorgot” echoed with force in a horrible cacophony, as a ring of village natives danced to its melody.

  39. Niti Chandra

    As I sat enjoying a hot cup of coffee on a cold winter evening, just after completing my new novel, a murder mystery, I heard the door bell ring. I opened the door and I saw a new face smiling at me.

    “Hi, I have just moved into the house next door. I m Jonathan Gomes. My friends call me Johny….” But before he could say any further, I was lost in my thoughts. The name ‘Johny Gomes’ immediately rang a warning bell in my mind as it was the same as that of the murderer in my murder mystery.

    Jonathan had come to ask for a hammer and a big chopping knife. To prove myself to be a good neighbor, I readily obliged. But the name and his looks greatly disturbed me. After Johny had left, I sat down, analyzing the murderer in my novel and my new neighbor. They both had a tall sturdy built. The sun tanned skin, the heavy boots, the untidy hair falling carelessly over the face and the small mysterious eyes, all matched perfectly.

    Johny Gomes in my novel was a psychopath who loved killing his innocent next door neighbors just for fun and here I was his only neighbor!

    I was suddenly overpowered by a dangerous thought – ‘Has Johny in my novel come to life to murder me, his neighbor?’. I was scared to my soul. I decided to secretly spy on him and catch him before he could reach the climax.

    I quietly went out to see what he was upto and heard him working in his backyard. As I peeped through the fence that separated my backyard from his, I saw Johny with a huge wooden box (similar to the one in my novel). He was securely trying to push it in the bushes, probably trying to hide it from public view. He then suspiciously looked around, picked up the big chopping knife and walked slowly towards the fence separating us.

    By now I was too scared. My sense of security drove me out of my wits and I ran back to the safety of my home. I had no courage to wait there in my backyard and let a psychopath play his last game. Sitting there behind the locked door, I tried to recollect the sequence of events that unfolded in my novel. The story further stated that after setting up things as per his plan, the murderer Johny finally visited his neighbor’s house to murder her on the pretext of requesting for a cup of coffee.

    Suddenly the door bell rang. I was startled but I immediately composed myself and opened the door. Johny was standing at my door. He said, “I m too tired setting up things. Could I come in for a cup of coffee? “

  40. lpsmitty

    The flat black Chevy Chevelle with the traces of rust at the bottom of the driver’s side door was the same. The nightly escapades with loud music and various partners were the same. He even looked exactly like I described him: shaven head, surgical scar from a former cleft lip, 16 millimeter gauge flesh-tunnel earrings. And now, I’m certain that he is killing the people he brings home. Just like I wrote it.
    It’s been about three weeks since my neighbor moved into the vacant townhouse at the end of the row. I only met him once, when I stared at him slack jawed, amazed at the physical representation of the antagonist of my latest manuscript standing before me. The antagonist who reveled in body mutilation and torture. He made no attempt to hide his presence from me, giving me a knowing smirk whenever we crossed paths. Then he set up shop. I watched as he came in night after night with a new companion, both male and female. They never came out.
    I’m losing sleep. How can I sleep when I know what’s going on next door. I never hear them but I know that he’s killing them. Twice I’ve talked to the police about him. Twice I was told that they couldn’t do anything without proof. No one had been reported missing and no other neighbor had witnessed anything. They wrote me off as a quack.
    Last night, when he went out to pick up another victim, I broke into his apartment. I didn’t even bother trying to hide my intrusion. I kicked open the door, which took a few attempts. Looking around the townhouse was almost unnecessary. It was just like I described it, which was a copy of my own townhouse. The place was devoid of furniture and personal effects. The only thing of note was a table in the middle of the living room with no chairs, marked savagely with scours and cuts from a knife. On the table was a copy of my manuscript. I picked it up and flipped through it. It was all there in its entirety. I couldn’t understand it. How could he have gotten it? I ran out as fast as I could.
    I’m not crazy, regardless of what the police say. I know its going to keep happening and no one is trying to stop it. How many people will it take before they take notice? It feels like I haven’t slept in weeks. I stand in the mirror for hours wondering what I will do next. I’m still trying to figure out the manuscript, though, now, I don’t even remember mailing it out.
    I turn the music up. My hair is starting to grow back. I’ll shave it again tonight. Then, its back to watching. But first, I have to fix my door. I think the neighbor kicked it in.

    1. onaway

      You had me at- “Chevy Chevelle”. You lost me at- “16 millimeter gauge flesh-tunnel earrings”. He doesn’t deserve that car. I enjoyed the story, good job.

  41. RichGraham617

    My mind is set; Stephanie Ray’s body will be dismembered in the basement and then buried piece by piece in random places throughout his yard. He’ll call his friend, a doorman at Sink, a bar across town he’s known to frequent. “That’s it!’ I say a loud as I open the bottle of Highland Park 18 year old Scotch that’s been patiently waiting to be opened since I started this novel. This is where John will end his journey at. This is the perfect murder.
    I hit the period key and pull the paper out of the typewriter, place it all in a neat stack and shut off the light in my study.
    I walk up to the living room and sit back on the couch, turn on the television and turn on the news.
    “Stephanie Ray of Boston, Massachusetts; daughter of billionaire Michael Ray, went missing twelve days ago. Friends say she went to the bathroom at Sink, a bar in Lowell Massachusetts and she never returned.” The news shows a picture of Stephanie Rays smiling.
    My heart begins to pound and I become light headed.
    “John Bryans from Lowell, Massachusetts was the person witnessed to talk with Stephanie before she vanished. Unfortunately, John Bryans hasn’t been able to be reached for questioning.” The news shows a picture of John Bryans.
    My head becomes light and my breathing deep with anxiety. I walk into the bathroom, turn on the light and stare into the mirror. I can’t believe who is staring back at me. Why is he smiling? I panic.
    I call my buddy Jones who I went to Sink with that night. He answers in a panicked voice. “Dude, where the hell have you been? We’ve been trying to reach you for days.” “I’ve been here, at home. What’s wrong?” “No you haven’t been home. And, whose number are you calling from?” “Mine, I’ve had this number for years man. What’s going on?” “Bro, the cops have been around asking for you? Put on the news.” “I’m watching the news. That’s why I’m calling you. We were there that night.” “Christ I know. I saw you talking to that chick. They came back to my house a few days ago and said that you couldn’t be reached. Bro, where are you?”
    My head begins to aches and the sound of his voice slowly vanishes as the sound of cop sirens flood the street. I hang up the phone.
    There’s a knock at the door. I walk to the front window, peek out and see two cops standing at my door with their guns drawn. The flashing lights of dozen a of cop cars light up the street. Two dozen or so cops surround my house.
    My stomach aches. I become nervous.
    “John Bryans we have the house surrounded come out with your hands up.”
    Seconds later they kick in my door and I scream “She’s alive, she’s in the basement.”
    My journal is worthless.

  42. handyman43127


    Watching the final page work it way through the printer, caps off what will be the greatest year of my life. This will be my fourth novel and it is following in the footsteps of three best sellers.

    One year ago on a book signing tour of the Philippines I met a wonderful women by the name of Viola. Two months later we were engaged. I went home to start my new book, partly based on story’s Viola had told me about her twin sister and herself growing up. Viola stayed behind waiting for her fiancee visa.

    Viola arrived two month ago and began planning our wedding, which is now a week away. I worked long hours to finish my manuscript before our wedding and honeymoon. With it done we along with my agent could relax.

    Viola shopping, I decided to take a walk. Crossing the street I noticed a moving van parked in Eds drive. A women was giving instructions to the movers. Concerned, I walked over and asked if Ed was moving. As she turned I was shocked, she looked like viola, her sister, or even worse the murderess that killed the neighbor and plotted to kill her sister because she wanted her fiancee for herself.

    “He’s already gone”, she replied.

    “What’s you’r name?”

    “Maria”, she said.

    It’s her, the women in my book, I thought.

    Rushing home I watched through the window as I phoned Viola. The movers were moving a large trunk into the garage, Ed’s car was still in there. Hello, Viola, Viola are you there.

    “Yes” her sweet voice answered, “I am here William.”

    Where are you, have you talked to you’r sister?

    “What’s wrong William, you sound frightened?”

    Have you?

    Yes, I talked to her today, she was at work. Are you alright?, is something wrong?she asked.

    She is still in the Philippines?

    Yes, whats wrong?

    Nothing, I have to drop my manuscript of at the agents and I will hurry home, see you there.

    OK, ginahigugma ko ikaw, she always ended our phone conversations in her native Ilonggo launguage.

    I love you to, I replied.

    Finding my agent out, I left the manuscript with his secretary and hurried off for home. According to the book the killer would strike in thirty minutes and I was twenty minutes away. Ten minutes away I called and Viola answered but the phone went dead, I called again and again, but still no answer.

    Pulling into the drive the light over the sink Viola always left on went out, leaving the entire house dark. Rushing through the door into the living room, footsteps advanced towards me. Suddenly the light’s came on and there stood Viola, her sister, my agent, Ed and many of our friend’s. They had come to surprise me for the sale of my novel and thought acting out the murder scene would be a good gag to play on me.

  43. Imaginalchemy

    “El Burro Asesino”

    All I had to do to verify if my theory was true was to bash open my next door neighbor’s head and see if he was full of candy. How hard could that be?
    Okay, I’m the first to admit I have an overactive imagination. I wrote a book about a killer piñata, for crying out loud. And while the guy who had just moved into the fixer-upper across the street from me wasn’t made of brightly colored paper mache, or shaped like an exaggerated donkey, or appeared to have any violent prejudices against small children with sticks, he did have some odd behaviors…such as coming home from the market with more bags of candy than any one person could consume, and he had a stiff-legged walk, like he couldn’t bend his knees. And the name that he put on his mailbox didn’t get past me…Burrell Asinovsky. Sounded pretty close to Burro Asesino, if you ask me.
    And then of course there was the time he came over to my house to borrow some duct tape, and as he walked away he was taping up his leg with it. Later I found a little trail of Tootsie Rolls leading down my front walk. I could only guess that he had accidentally banged himself up, bust his leg open and lost a little candy before he repaired himself.
    This meant only one thing: if Burrell was actually Burro Asesino, he was about to start doing what I had written in my story: targeting certain townsfolk (particularly parents who bought piñatas for their children’s birthday parties), hollowing them out and stuffing them with all that candy he was buying, then hang them around town and, well, give them their just desserts.
    I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I’m a bit twisted, okay?
    And yes, perhaps it was a bit much when I jump-attacked the guy when he was watering his lawn, and started smacking him with a hockey stick. I probably should’ve stopped when no candy was coming out of him, which also didn’t help my case when the cops showed up.
    Later I found out that Burrell was buying all that candy not to stuff into unsuspecting victims, but because he donated them every week to the orphanage so the children would have treats. But he had a penchant for Tootsie rolls, thus he carried them around in his pockets (and occasionally they spilled out due to his stiff walk, caused by the metal rods in his knees from a car accident he had been in). And the thing with the duct tape…apparently he had only been taping his pants, having ripped them while repairing the roof, and since he had no sewing skills decided to duct-tape the tear instead.
    But it was an honest mistake, like the time I thought that puppy that my mother-in-law adopted was actually a hell hound I had written about in my horror novel. I mean, that’s why pencils have erasers, right?

    1. slayerdan

      Well done—way to stick w the prompt but not stick with it. Reminds me of an old twilight zone episode with aliens in a neighborhood—lots of normal stuff mistaken for something more sinister. Excellent.

  44. sprattcm

    “Hi! I’m your new neighbor. My name is Callie Perkins,” said the young woman as her eyes flicked over Bobby’s shoulder. “Are your parents home?”

    Bobby recited his rote response, “Mother is resting in the den, can I take a message? She doesn’t want to be disturbed.” He studied his new neighbor with all the aloof discretion at his command – with a penetrating stare delivered between suspiciously narrowed eyes.

    “Well, would you mind…”

    “Are you a zombie?”

    “I’m sorry?” she said in a tone that disagreed. “Look, uh…”

    “My name is Bobby.”

    “Bobby! Yes, look Bobby, really I was just looking to borrow a cup of flour, and,” she managed to say before he interrupted her again.

    “I’m a writer. I wrote a story about you and you need to know I’m not afraid of zombies. I’ve read all about them and I know the 13 Rules.”

    “Thank you, Bobby, really. This has been…fascinating. Good day, sweetie!” She waved curtly, pivoted crisply and scurried indignantly.

    Bobby closed the door and jumped to the sofa beneath the window to watch her leave the yard. He squinted menacingly at her back until she was well clear of the yard. Just then, his mother poked her head into the room.

    “Who was at the door, Bobby?” she asked.

    “One of Emperor Quasar’s minions! She wanted to feast on your brains, but I told her you were napping.”

    “Thank you, honey. Hey, she didn’t break rule number seven, did she?”

    “No, Sparky is in his kennel. Besides, it’s not a full moon tonight, so she isn’t ready.”

    “That’s good kiddo. So…Who was really at the door?”

    “I told you! Emper…” Bobby started to explain, but she cut him off.

    “Robert Matthew Wilson! You march right up to your room and stay there until your father gets home. I’ll not have you greeting new neighbors with such nonsense. Honestly! What will they think of us?” She pointed up stairs firmly and Bobby groaned as he slumped toward his room.

    “I should have loaned her the flour! Then you’d be sorry!” he muttered defiantly.


    Bobby looked out the second story window in his room and watched the blonde space zombie as she directed the movers unloading the moving van. He knew how this story ended – poorly for Mr. Smith two doors down and tragically for the Johnsons across the street. He pulled the neatly bound manuscript from beneath his bed and flipped through the bright construction-paper pages.

    On page 6, the stick figure representing Mr. Smith lay in the street with two X’s for eyes. Three of the Minions of Quasar kneeled around his head and passed the salt and pepper. On page eight, the Johnsons’ dog Kipper (at this point, also a space zombie) chased them to page nine where they fell into their own spiked pit trap.

    “Nobody ever believes me,” Bobby moaned.

  45. evershade

    January 12, 1881

    I stood firmly at my post, eyeing the distance across the Arctic Ocean like a wolf stalking rabbits. Though distanced by a wide layer of milky glass, my skin felt a violent nibbling as if submerged in that blue and burning void. Sleeplessness haunts my waking eyes as solitude has widowed me of all sanity. To fault is my own, as my writing had grown an appendage that feeds on emptiness like a blinded butterfly. I called upon that duty by withdrawing from all that I once knew to a region that assumes all hollowness, spewing it into a freezing void like a drunken swab. The village is guarded by an expanse of limitless ocean to the North, which the few natives sing is poisoned by an ancient and forsaken creature. Acquaintance has met me only once, when the assumed native leader pronounced me “ende vorgot” or “last visitor” in that accursed tongue. Alas, the village swallowed another shape four nights ago; it seems the native leader drinks from the same spigot that orphans my own mind.

    January 23, 1881

    Seven nights have thusfar been restless due to nightmarish lulls in sleep. “Ende vorgot, ende vorgot!” The blackness in that native’s eyes howled like a fanatic animal battling prey. The torment began with the arrival of the new citizen. Each descent of what lesser light the day holds marks an eerie semblance to my writing’s central figure. My sleuthing of the village’s newcomer has shriveled any last logic I own, for his actions undoubtedly mimic my writing’s final act. Has this barren darkness absolutely absorbed my thoughts, have I put ink to parchment with a hand of the gods?!

    January 28, 1881

    The final line of my writing reads as such: “Approaching the door, he trembles into the abode and slays the man with a violent beat of sharpened iron – silencing the world from disruption.” Am I to be this fool, suffer at the cramping hands of my own? Of what disruption do I speak of? Nevermore! I will recast this dulled sword! The final line shall read: “Approaching the door, he trembles into the abode awaited by a maddened figure at his front; roaring ‘ende vorgot, ende vorgot’ the figure storms forward and slays him.” Sharp and angelic! I will send to hell the creature born of my own mind and sing the ancient anthems of this wasteland. I shall wait for the heathen.

    February 12, 1881

    Endless and stagnant vengeance claws at my aura as I await the beast. Has this land strangled me insofar I am frightened to encounter my own creation? Wait no more; I must taunt that empty fool! My shape crosses the encampment with a shivering tread. My dead eyes were animated as its door dragged me in. I gasped for air and displayed a terrible face to what stood inside the doorway. A shape is advancing violently, screaming native tongue!

    “Ende vorgot” echoed with force in a horrible cacophony, as a ring of village natives danced to its melody.

  46. CathSK

    What’s funny to me is how close the name “Katherine Carlson” is to mine! 🙂 Good news: Although I do actually have new neighbors (husband and wife), they don’t match your descriptions. Phew!

  47. Karlie

    This is a little bit over the word limit, but I couldn’t cut any more without taking away from the story. Sorry about that, and please let me know what you guys think.

  48. Karlie

    I breathed a long sigh as I wrote the last sentence of my manuscript and hit Save on my computer.
    I was ready to celebrate, so I pushed back from the computer and walked to the kitchen, where I scrounged around for the last can of cold Dr. Pepper. I saluted myself with it and took a long, refreshing drink.
    I just so happened to glance through the window.
    A moving van was parked at the vacant house next door.
    I resisted the urge to swear. The last neighbors had been rowdy, obnoxious, and liked to play rock music at odd hours. I’d gotten kind of used to peace and quiet since they’d moved out.
    A young-looking guy stood with his arms folded, watching the men unload the van. As if sensing my eyes on him, he turned and waved.
    I waved back automatically while studying him. He had a scar on his face – left cheekbone, about two inches, slightly curved.
    Just like Dick Hawkins, the murderer in my newly finished novel.
    Now that little similarity by itself would’ve been an interesting coincidence, but added to the blond hair, rakish smile, and hiking boots, it was downright scary.
    I let the curtains fall back into place and retreated back into the safety of my kitchen.
    That night weird noises in his yard left me awake and terrified until morning, but in the daylight my fears were easy to dismiss.
    A few days later, my new neighbor was outside rattling around in the back yard, so I got up the nerve to head on over and say hello. Bearing a batch of fresh chocolate brownies, I ventured into the other yard.
    “Hi, I’m your neighbor, Katherine Carlson,” I introduced myself, holding the plate like a shield.
    He put down the hoe and came over. “Nice to meet you, Mrs. Carlson, I’m Richard Hawkins. But everyone calls me Dick,” he added.
    I think I said something back, but I’m not sure. I just shoved the treat into his hands and fled back to my home.
    Maybe I was going crazy…but this needed more looking into.
    So far this was playing right along with my plot. Handsome stranger moves in next door, does a lot of suspicious yard work at night.
    The neighbor on his other side was an elderly lady named Rita Lu James. I’d used her for the victim, changing her name only marginally. So it stood to reason that if, by some bizarre twist of fate, my novel was recreating itself, she was in danger.
    I knew if I called the police, they’d put me in a padded cell, so I decided to keep my little surveillance project to myself.
    The next morning Dick left his house and didn’t come back until noon. But when he did come back, I was waiting. Sure enough, he carried a rolled up newspaper. It looked innocent enough, but I knew the truth. Concealed inside was a tiny baggie of cocaine.
    When he started messing around with a shovel in the back yard, I got scared. He was running drugs, if he was staying true to the plot. Rita would accidentally stumble onto him and he’d hit her with the shovel.
    I had to do something.
    Late that night, dressed in black and carrying my best kitchen knife, I sneaked into his yard and began to dig, in the garden next to the azalea bush. If I could get the cocaine, the police could arrest him, and Rita would stay alive.
    “What’re you doing?” Dick roared, stumbling out of the house. I scrambled to my feet, but it was too late. He’d grabbed the shovel and nailed me.
    The next morning hubby found me in a pool of blood in the undisturbed yard of the abandoned, dusty house next door.
    I woke up in the hospital with partial amnesia and the knowledge that Rita had been on vacation and wasn’t scheduled to return until next week.
    No one had a clue what I was talking about when I asked about Dick Hawkins.

        1. Midnight_Beauty

          I love this! It seems as if she’d encountered a demon of sorts. Either that or a magical computer. I say have her write a novel about winning the lottery to know for sure. Lol

          Great story!

    1. Jasper_Owens

      I can understand not meeting the word limit because that is a difficult prompt to do so with. To provide a solid background would be hard with only a 500 word limit. Very entertaining though. Nice job! I may take a crack at this one myself.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.