Flash Fiction: Succubus

By J. L. Mayne


She dances with the room. The music from the speakers vibrates up from the floor, radiating through her bones. She takes in the bodies around her, the crowd moving as one, the addictive notes caressing their brains, they submit to the melody. The sweet smell of sweat and alcohol permeating her nostrils. She allows one to pull her in, their two bodies moving synchronously.

She moves with him for a time before passing to another. A girl, with long blond hair and tight jeans. She tastes her neck, presses her breasts against the girl’s back, grinds against her, then shoves her away in a fluid motion, all part of the dance. All a part of her game to find the perfect morsel. She drags in another, flirting with her eyes, with her seductive sway, with playing that she is almost innocent; innocent, but willing to do just a bit more than dance.

He grazes her inner thigh with his fingers,wanting to feel her, she pushes his hand away smoothly as they dance. His hand returns, another attempt, she allows just a little more, waiting like a spider with its prey. Allowing it to get just a little closer. An easy kill is always best.

Their sway changes with each song. She beguiles him, hints at things to come. His hands feel her curves through her skin-tight blue dress.

Others watch them, envy plain in their eyes. They flock to her as though under a spell. Her sweet nectar just out of reach. She waits to consume them as though she were a pitcher plant; them the flies. Falling into her, only to be consumed.

She slides her hand up his leg, his back, nails dig at his neck, she pulls him in to taste his breath and whispers in his ear; succulent nothings that torment his loins.

She guides him to her apartment. Their groping continues up the flight of stairs. A pinch, a flirtatious smile with a blush on her cheeks.

The door slams shut behind them and the lock clicks. They fall onto the couch to continue their movement as one. She attacks him with her whole, tearing off his clothes. The facade of innocence removed now that she has him captive. She bites his neck, digs nails into his back.

He begs her for more.

She doesn’t care what his name is. Doesn’t expect that she will see him for long. She never does. She only cares that for now he belongs to her. Any whim she desires he will deliver, as long as their dance continues.

She crawls off of him, adjusts her dress and hair and takes a picture of him with her phone, a dumb smile plastered on his face. He doesn’t know who she is. Never will. He only sees the body, only cares what next piece of meat he can put his dick in.

She smiles back, playing into the act. Letting him believe she is his. That this meant something.

He’s just another piece of meat.

The Nightmare, a Flash Fiction by Justin A. Burnett

The trails we walk are suspended over the park by white columns. An awning shades us from the glare of the sun, and intermittent staircases spiral down to the grass some ten meters below. From our elevated vantage point, we converse without interference from the sounds of children chasing each other gleefully through the grass.

“When you get to the top, the wind is fierce and the oxygen thin; you want to rest, but you must press on,” my uncle says about his recent ascent of Kilimanjaro. My mother and grandmother are in high spirits, breathless with his account of the mountain, while I keep losing the thread of the narrative to scan the park below for a glimpse of my children. The others spring from behind trees and run laughing through small clouds of orange and yellow butterflies, their shirts and jackets mixing ripe reds and blues with the natural shimmer of flowers, but my own are nowhere to be seen. Dizzy, I sag against one of the columns supporting the veranda.

“I can’t find my children,” I say. My mother laughs at my uncle’s description of a hyena. My grandmother hasn’t heard me and nods serenely, content with the momentary happiness of her own children.

Suddenly, my youngest appears from behind a hedge. My heart swells with relief. I wave at the boy. The neverending chase that passes for sociability among children has ruddied his cheeks, but he smiles wide, passing his gaze from knot to knot of adults scattered in shadows along the path–he’s looking for me, so I call his name. Finally, he finds me and waves.

I decide to walk down to him, but in the middle of my step towards the nearest staircase, something happens. My foot doesn’t return to the pathway as it should. I lift my other foot as the nauseating thrill of falling rises into my chest. Have I miscalculated a distance? Am I about to tumble over the edge of the pathway and into the foliage below? I grab the pillar to regain my balance. Somehow, my feet continue to rise.

I look up at my mother, uncle, and grandmother–each face mirrors the surprise I feel but cannot see. Their bodies, like mine, drift above the pathway, hovering like a feather in a tender breeze. I’m not–we aren’t–falling. We’re floating. Along the path ahead of us, people cluster around the columns or cling to the dangling edges of the veranda. A shocked murmur fills the clear, warm air.

“What’s happening?” my mother asks her brother. “Why is there no gravity?”

“It’ll come back soon,” he says with sudden seriousness I am inclined to fear.

Yes, it will come back soon indeed. All things in this world right themselves; a great many important people doubtlessly labor tirelessly to correct errors such as this, and we must not doubt human ingenuity.

Faith. Have faith.

The sickness of falling hasn’t left, and my heart races madly, but still I cling to the column, more comforted than before. No one seems unduly alarmed, and I even hear the faint trace of nervous laughter drifting down the line of bodies floating under the cloth like sea creatures in a fisher’s inverted net. Yes, this will all be sorted out soon. Just wait, my children.

My children.

I look down into the foliage, and my youngest–four years old–has already cleared the highest hedge by several meters. My eldest is still out of sight. I shout his name. His flushed cheeks pale with slow panic. How could someone restore gravity? Who has power over such immutable forces of nature? I find the calm of faith quickly dissolving as my son drifts slowly to the sky. “My children!” I scream, “someone help my children!” Faces turn, and I can sense fear spreading like electric cold through the adults clustered against the columns. Soon, my baby reaches the tops of the trees, reduced to a black silhouette against the spread of white sky in a clearing between branches. Clouds mask the endless void behind them, and I think of the sun, the planets, the galaxies beyond tucked in the folds of inconceivable distance and dark.

We can not hold the columns forever any more than we can reach the dark–we’ll let go, eventually, and we’ll never make it to the stars–all will shrink and shrink and vanish into unfamiliar forms until we are finally eaten by the sun. Someone begins to scream, and the scream multiplies.

“Hang on, son! Daddy’s coming!”

-Justin A. Burnett

Halloween Decorations by James Jakins

Traditions are important. No matter how insignificant, how stupid, or how cruel. We hold to them.

My hometown, a small, rural place, has its own traditions. And, as is the way with small, rural places, traditions are held to more strictly than elsewhere.

And, if ever there is a day meant for traditions, it is Halloween.

My family was not native to the area. We’d moved there when I was a child, only six years old. This meant that I would forever be the new kid. Even if I stuck around until I was fifty.

This lack of local blood meant that I was not privy to what I saw as the town’s greatest tradition: The decorating of the Post Office.

Every year all the teenagers, now too old for trick or treating, would flow into the streets and respect a tradition as ancient as any of the old widows handing out candy.

Every year, Halloween day would come, kids would put on costumes and knock on doors for their prize of candy. Home owners would light candles in pumpkins and hang up tissue paper ghosts from trees. Night would set on this image. This perfect slice of Americana.

And, then, the next morning would reveal the work done in darkness. Those same pumpkins and ghosts, along with every plastic skeleton or vinyl witch, would be missing from their yard or porch and lined along the roof of the Post Office. Or hung from the flagpole, or smashed on the sidewalk.

I knew who did it. I always heard them talking. And I wanted in.

This happened every year. As one group grew too old and got married and had children of their own, the next batch would fill the ranks of this silent, Halloween army. How these vandal soldiers were selected was as much a mystery to me as how they performed this yearly operation. I could not comprehend the silent politics used in this selection. Never once had I thought it was as simple as just showing up and helping.

But my chance came when I was fourteen. It was 6 PM when they came to my door.

There were four of them. I knew them all, but only considered one a friend. Caden was the leader of this pack.

They were dressed in the low effort costumes of teenagers that had almost forgotten it was Halloween: plastic vampire teeth too small for the mouth or fake blood running from eyes. Caden carried a rusty hay hook as his costume, the sleeve of his sweater pulled up almost enough to cover his hand.

I was at the door dropping candy in the plastic grocery bags and discolored pillow cases of kids still young enough to go door to door.

“Hey,” Caden said. “After dark. Meet us at the park. We’re doing the Post Office.”

Their looks were conspiratorial, as though everyone in town didn’t know what that meant. I returned their looks with a barely contained grin.

I arrived at the park that night to find that the whole operation was much less covert than expected. Loud groups huddled together, laughing at one joke or another. I had expected an orderly army, but here there was only chaos.
At different intervals, with no prompting, these individual packs of teens would break off from the whole. One would take this street, another that.

I found my friend and his three subordinates.

“Are you seriously wearing a mask?” the one with the cheap vampire teeth asked me.

I quickly tore the fabric hood from my face, grateful for the dark hiding my red cheeks. “It’s Halloween,” I said in defense.

That just made them laugh harder.

“It’s a cool mask,” Caden said and the rest fell silent.

We chose a street and began our work.

I never really felt like one of the group, but they did cheer me with excited whispers any time I crept onto a porch and claimed a trophy for our growing pile.

Occasionally, whenever he decided we had enough pumpkins, Caden would stab one of the jack-o’-lanterns with his hook, usually through the eye, and throw it down into the street where it would burst. In the darkness of the unlit streets it almost looked like a head. Perfect for Halloween.

We would all cheer him on as he did so. “Kill it! Kill it!” we whisper-shouted in the dark. Then we would go and find another gourd to replace the one destroyed.

We stole pumpkins and stuffed ghosts, and one member of our group claimed a lawnmower from an open garage.
Sometime after midnight our prizes were silently paraded through the empty neighborhoods of the town toward Main Street. A pile of precariously stacked trophies balanced on a lawnmower with a procession of all sorts of monsters dragged behind.

The work had already begun when we arrived.

A small group was on the roof, and I wondered how they’d climbed up. From the ground the others were throwing up pumpkins and those on the roof would catch them and arrange them however they pleased. If they missed one they would let it fall back to the ground and everyone pretended like it was on purpose.

“We should get up there,” Caden said.

“Yeah,” someone agreed. “Think we can get the lawnmower up?”

“Hey,” Caden looked to me. “Wanna go?”

“How?” I asked, embarrassed by my inexperience.

“It’s easy.” He took me by the shoulder and led me to the building.

It was easy. A boost up on a trash can and a short jump to the sloping roof.

Once up I went to the front of the building and watched the crowd of my peers below.

I almost thought were watching me. They seemed to be standing in orderly rows, looking up with eyes glowing in the moonless darkness.

They were hungry eyes, I felt. But others my age always seemed hungry for something I never understood.
They started chanting. “Kill it! Kill it!”

I thought maybe Caden was going to throw a pumpkin from the roof.

I never saw the hook. Not after it pierced my neck, or even my eyes.

I never got to appreciate the scene the next morning when the sun rose to reveal the Post Office and its rows of jack-o’-lanterns and ghosts and witches and zombies. Never saw the lawnmower perched atop the roof. Or the corpse. All taken from homes around town.

A lovely Halloween tradition.

James is a South African born writer with an American accent, because children are cruel and laughed at the way he said “orange.” He was the last kid in his class to learn to read, so once that was remedied he quickly made up for lost time and read everything he could get his hands on.

Eventually someone said, “Hey, James, read this fantasy novel.” He did, and still hasn’t managed to crawl out of that rabbit hole, though he has found others to fall into. The first story he ever wrote was horrible but everyone pretended it was great, so now he can’t feel good about himself unless someone is praising his work. He lives in Utah with a dog and a growing collection of porch cats.

Check out more of James’s work online:
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015QRBO7Y
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14441255.James_Jakins

Halloween Flash Fiction: “Polka Dots”

By J.L. Mayne

The bile stings as it ejects from my empty stomach into the white porcelain. The acid struggles to mix with the water. Strings of green and yellow drip through the murk to the base of the bowl. My arms rest on the seat, where my family sits and defecates at least once a day.

In this particular moment in time, I don’t care about the germs crawling up my arms. The only thought in my tadpole head is to rid my body of whatever filth it is harboring. Release it so that tomorrow, Halloween, I can join my siblings in trick-or-treating.

I push through the muscle spasms opposite what is natural and think of the horde of candy I will be able to gorge myself on. I feebly raise my head and spit in a vain attempt to rid my tongue of the curdled intestinal secretions. I wipe my mouth and rinse it with cool water, knowing that it will be a battle to keep down even a few drops, but the liquid is refreshing as it slides down my gullet, taking bits of puke with it.

I stumble down the hall, trying to keep my balance and avoid running into the wall. Somehow, I make it to the couch and collapse in the spot where I will spend the rest of the day.

I insist to my mother that I’ll be better by tomorrow, that the sickness will be gone and I’ll be able to go out. She smiles and nods like a good parent, not believing me, while skillfully avoiding unnecessary remorse from her infected son. She hands me a cup of something sweet and says that it will help me feel better. I believe her, like a good son, and sip the contents.

My insides churn as I sit watching the pictures on TV, brain scrambling to make sense of the swirling colors. Sweat percolates on my forehead and I can feel the familiar, horrible urge to vomit start to rise from the depth of my bowels until it consumes me. My breath quickens and my heart threatens to break ribs. I inhale deeply and try to ignore the urge, try to will the sickness out of my body as I clutch at my groaning abdomen.

I fail, return to the bathroom, and spew the medicine I just consumed.

Hours of this back-and-forth before I finally drag myself up the stairs and collapse into bed. A prayer narrowly misses my lips begging to be better by tomorrow, that I’ll be able to dress up, scavenge, and eat that precious horde of candy.

I sleep.

My eyes slowly open and I realize my body feels normal, and I didn’t wake during the night at all. I rejoice, and call out to my mother as I sprint down the stairs. Proclaiming that I’m not sick! The plague has passed! I can go trick-or-treating! My smile threatens to rip my face apart.

She is near the foot of the stairs, waiting. She looks at me with sad eyes and shakes her head.


My hopes and dreams of Halloween are whisked away like an exorcised wraith. I weep. Tears rain down my face and I sob in my mother’s arms.

I stay at home and answer the door for the few children who dare venture down our four-lane street.

They include my siblings. My young brother wears a shirt with bones, cheeks of white, and black around his eyes. My younger sister is orange and round. My older sister’s face is green, a long nose extends abnormally from it. She holds a broom in one hand and a treat bag in the other. Her pointed hat makes her look taller.

And me, I am dressed in polka dots.


J. L. Mayne writes for fun and hopes to someday make enough money to get his kids 50 cents a week in royalties. His inspiration comes from that guy hiding in your closet.

Biological Determinism by S.E. Casey

He frowned.

The class shuffled in. Despite the lack of years, the third period children were lumpy, bloated, and stuffed into ill-fitting clothes. They were a dim bunch. They had little interest in learning, with even less aptitude. He had made multiple requests not to teach this particular class, but to no avail.

Since his biology lessons were beyond their grasp, he gave in and allowed them to talk during class. Most days, he passed the time until fourth period listening. Unfortunately, they hardly said anything interesting, mostly inane banter about the funny man they passed on the way to school.

The children didn’t know his name or where he lived. But they probably didn’t care; they were only interested in him because he made them laugh.

Yes, he made them laugh. Sometimes he would talk to them, telling jokes. While the children never repeated the jokes, he made them laugh. Sometimes, on what they called sausage days, the man cried. This too made the near-useless children laugh.

Maybe there was no man. Third period were an unreliable bunch, their stories rehashed rubbish of rainbows, black rivers, and glass abattoirs.

The mention of the last was disturbing. The dullards were far too dim for such a word.

One spring day, the third period class didn’t show.

Not a one.

Feigning an ulcer flare-up, he excused himself for the rest of the day.

Unfortunately, it was raining. A downpour seemed to follow him home. Through the laboring of his windshield wipers, he came upon a funny-looking man wearing a rainbow patterned butcher’s apron. The odd man stood knee-deep in muddy water, the downpour’s runoff filling the roadside ditch where he stood. Reflecting the dark clouds above, the rushing water appeared black.

The man was crying, the kind of disconsolate sobs reserved for the loss of a loved one. Bloated and lumpy sausages slipped from his arms. There were too many for him to handle. The sickly grey casings stuffed with ends, gristle, and otherwise useless trimmings escaped downstream.

The wipers slashed across the windshield. The rain was coming down especially hard. It beaded up on the glass too fast, briefly obscuring everything from view. But with each pass of the wipers, the world was made new again. However, it was all different, everything a replacement—a near perfect reproduction of what had been just before.
It was all a trick, a ruse, a flipbook illusion. The fleeing sausages were the only real things in this absurd contrivance.

Sausage days—those bloated and lumpy gross foodstuffs. But behind the safety of the windshield glass, he couldn’t help it…

He laughed.

S.E. Casey grew up near a lighthouse. He always dreamed of smashing the lighthouse and building something grotesque with the rubble. This is the writing method for his broken down and rebuilt stories published in many horror magazines and anthologies that can be found on his website. You can also follow him on Twitter.

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