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Halloween Flash Fiction - Week 3

Week 3 Halloween-ish Flash Fiction and a Give@away for You!


The month is winding down and we have some fantastic story for you this week:

The Bush Indian by Cherime MacFarlane and Tall, Dark, and Handsome

by Tina Susedik

We hope you enjoy our stories for week 3 of our give@way for readers.

After you read this week’s spooky stories make sure to scroll to the bottom to enter.

Until next week…stay spooky my friends!

-Tessa & Team PoisedPenPro


The Bush Indian by Cherime MacFarlane

Copyright Ó Cherime MacFarlane

2022

Copyright Notice:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters places, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, events or locales is completely coincidental.

Author's Note: There is a tale in that country of a “Bush Indian”. What little I’ve heard of it, people don’t say much, I’ve taken license with. But people do disappear in Alaska and are never seen or heard of again. A few thousand so far. Don’t go out in the bush alone.

Dedicated to: The elders I once knew.

Gunrik sat in one of the old office chairs. The two old men sat in their favorites, each one much the worse for wear. The wood stove warmed the interior of the building the men, hunting partners for years, called their shop. Built into the hillside of the property they had called home for over eighty years, it had one door and one window. He hoped the two Athabaskan elders would flesh out the information on a tale he’d run across while gathering stories for his employer, the Native Corporation.

He’d asked politely if the old men would tell him about the Bush Indian after church several months ago. They had exchanged glances. Some communication had passed between them.

Erik looked past Gunrik’s shoulder, staring at the mountains on the far side of the lake. David sighed. “Maybe. Him and me.” He waved a hand between them. “We’ll talk, send word if it feels right.”

Eventually, he’d had a call from Lila Jones, the great-grands granddaughter. The old men had decided it would be alright to discuss the legend. But they must do it on a Sunday afternoon, after church and when the moon was full.

Erik struck a match and lit a decrepit old pipe. The smoke didn’t smell like tobacco. Gunrik waited.

“Chelth-en-ee.” The word came out of the blue cloud around Erik. “Spell it how ya please. Him and me ain’t gonna say it again. Naw…”

“Once is enough.” David finished Erik’s thought. Gunrik had seen the two old hunters do that often enough. “Ya see spirit’s smoke coming from Wrangell? Tha kay-you-nee-thled-eh? That’s what we was waitin for. We’re thinking maybe we can get clear o trouble now. But we ain’t gonna speak o this again. Get it all now cause it’s askin for trouble to be too loud about that.”

“Yes, sir. Can I record you both?”

“Naw. Ya write this down.” Erik said.

David nodded. “Ya record it an that wrong spirit could hear it. They come after us. Can’t have that trash after DeDe, Alva Mae and the young ones.”

“Trash?”

“Yep.” David spat on the ground while Erik took another puff and blue smoke filled the air. “Evil as evil can be. They stole children. Took ‘em right out of their beds.” David said.

“Ya. Hunters go looking and find bones. Chewed.” Erik shook his white head. “Lost a few to that goo.”

He knew ‘goo’ meant monster. “They ate the children?” Gunrik leaned forward. He understood why no one wanted to talk about the thing he’d been trying to clarify.

Neither old man spoke, but they did nod in agreement. Erik blew another puff of smoke into the air. They exchanged another glance.

“They ain’t above taking a lone hunter, neither.” David said.

“Yup. Never go without ah huntin partner.” Erik took another draw on the pipe.

“Uh huh. They hung out in caves in the cliffs above tha river.” David leaned forward. “Ya know there’s still hunters, hikers go missin and nothing’s found.”

Gunrik nodded. He knew that. “Like that show about the Alaska Triangle.”

Both old men laughed. “They don’t know much. And ain’t no one going to tell them more. Tha only reason you’re hearing about it from us is we know we can trust ya. You’ve seen things here. Stuff ya can’t talk about cause ain’t any of em gonna believe ya.” David grinned at him.

“Ya. His great-great grandpa and his huntin partner followed em and traced tha evil back to their hole.” Erik gestured with the stem of the pipe.

“Uh huh and ran back and got every man, woman, and child in tha camp.” David grinned at him. “Since it was summer, they built fires on the land above the entrance, rolled bundles of brush down to keep tha lot trapped.”

“Collapsed the stuff above. Sealed tha goo in.” Erik said.

“Ya. That time they got most o them.” David looked at his hunting partner. “But we must have missed a few.”

Gunrik understood the ‘we’ to be the village collectively. “You think there are some still out there?”

“We do. Don’t ya be traipsing out there alone. Take our advice and always take a huntin partner. Keep each other safe.” Erik put the pipe stem to his lips.

“Now, we’s done talking. Said enough.” David touched Erik’s shoulder. “Look. Ya see that?”

“Yup.” David pointed out the window. “Wrangell is smoking up a storm. Tha wind’s rising. Storm comin up from tha gulf. Get on home, Gunrik. Stick close ta home for tha next few days.”

The entire drive down the Edgerton Highway to the cabin he shared with his wife, he felt off somehow. But he would call Jay Leighton as soon as he got home. The moose hunt he’d thought to do alone would be put off until he could get a hunting partner. He hoped Jay would go with him.

The old men were right. He’d seen too much in this country to not pay attention. And the hair on the back of his neck rose every time he looked at the big volcano with the plume of smoke above it. Cannibals had once terrorized the people here. As the old men said, evil had once roamed this vast valley and might still be waiting to snatch a lone hunter.


Tall, Dark, and Handsome

By Tina Susedik

“Your future looks bright.” Fortune teller, Madam Silver, ran her hand over Kate Sullivan’s palm then eyed the Oracle deck Kate had shuffled and drawn three cards from. “You’ll meet and fall in love with a tall, dark, and handsome man.”

Yeah, right. How many times had the old woman uttered those words? Kate held back a sigh. Why had she listened to her best friend, Bernie? Why had she wasted her time and money?

“How exciting. When and where will I meet this man?”

Dressed in typical gypsy garb with dozens of jangling bracelets, a colorful bandana covering her hair, wide loop earrings, and long, flowing dress, the old crone turned over the third card. “At a hall.”

Well, that was stupid. “Could you be a bit more specific?”

“That’s not how readings work.”

Of course not. Kate bit her bottom lip to keep from calling the woman a charlatan. Instead, she gathered her purse and rose.

“Wait!” Madam Silver called out. “Beware of ladders and black paint.”

Ladders? Black paint? “Yeah. Sure thing. Whatever you say.”

Kate left the quiet interior of the tent to the raucous noise of carnival rides, game hawkers, screaming kids, yelling parents, and the ghoulish screams of costume wearers. Apple Springs’ annual Halloween festival was in full swing. Last night had been the children’s costume party. Tonight, the community center had to be transformed for tomorrow night’s adult Halloween, masked ball. She checked her watch. Only a few minutes before she and Bernie needed to show up for their assigned duties—whatever they would be.

Bernie grabbed Kate’s arm. “So. What did she say? Anything exciting?”

“The usual.” Kate gave her friend the rundown. “Blah, blah, blah.”

“What if she’s right?”

“Huh.” With Bernie at her side, Kate wove her way through the throng of people. “I bet she said the same thing to you. Didn’t she?”

“Well . . .” Bernie blushed. “Not exactly. My man is tall, blond, and handsome.”

Kate laughed. “See? Totally bogus. C’mon. We need to hurry, or we’ll be late.”

****

As much as she didn’t care for the hoopla of Halloween, she had to admit the mural of witches, ghosts, goblins, pumpkins, headstones, and zombies was rather well done. Whoever had drawn it on the community hall’s wall was quite talented. Although it seemed a waste of time and money to paint something for just one holiday. Would it be redone for Christmas?

At the top rung of the ladder, she dipped her paintbrush into the gallon of black paint and reached to the tip of the witch’s hat. The ladder wobbled. Kate grabbed the sides, smearing black paint on a pumpkin and letting out a relieved breath when the ladder stilled.

“Remember, tall, dark, and handsome,” a voice whispered in her ear. “Your future awaits you.”

“What the hell?” She glanced around. Of course, at twenty feet above the ground, there was no one here but her.

“Tall, dark, and handsome,” the crackling voice, sounding a bit like Madam Silver, hissed again as the ladder trembled.

Okay. Maybe the paint fumes were getting to her. Plus, it was getting late, and she was hungry.

“How’s it going up there?”

A man stood below her, shading his eyes with his hand as if the sun were glaring in his eyes. From her height, she couldn’t tell how tall he was, and he wore a baseball hat hiding the color of his eyes and hair. Was he handsome? She shook her head. The old crone’s words were getting to her.

“Fine.”

“He’s the one.”

“What did you say?”

The man removed his hat revealing a shock of red hair and frowned. Tall, dark, and handsome indeed.

“I didn’t say anything.”

“Yes, you did.”

“Look, lady, I didn’t utter one word except to ask how it was going up there.”

Kate dipped her brush in the paint. “Whatever.”

The ladder jiggled.

“You’d better stay still.” The man’s deep voice sent shivers down her spine.

“I’m not moving.”

“Well, your ladder is.”

The ladder wiggled harder. “No kidding. Are we having an earthquake or something?” The ladder shook. “Hey, stop it. It’s going to tip over.”

“Lady, I’m not touching it.”

The right legs lifted, tipping the ladder to the left. Kate dropped the paintbrush and grabbed the bucket of paint to keep it from sliding off with one hand and the side of the ladder with the other.

“You need to get down from there. I can’t hold this thing in place.”

Was this a joke Bernie was playing on her? Were there hidden wires making the ladder move like a puppet on a string? “I’m coming down.” Before she put one foot on the next rung, the ladder lifted to the right. Who was doing this?”

“I am,” the voice laughed in her ear. “Enjoy the ride.”

The swaying grew stronger. Side to side, each time tipping a little further.

“Let go!” the stranger yelled. “I’ll catch you.”

Was he kidding? No way was she letting go. The ladder tipped backward. Her hands, now covered in black paint, slipped from the ladder. She closed her eyes, screamed, and fell backward.

“I’ve got you.”

What seemed like an eternity was only a matter of seconds before she landed in the redhead’s strong arms.

“Umph. I said I’d catch you.”

“Thank you. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t been here.” Not anxious to leave the safety of his hold, she wrapped her arms around his neck and glanced up at the ladder. “It was as if the darn thing was possessed.”

“I know. I’ve never seen anything like it. And I swear, I wasn’t touching the ladder.”

“I believe you.” She stared at his freckled face. While not conventionally handsome, he was certainly good looking. His eyes were green. Her heart skipped a beat. The voice had to be wrong. This man was certainly not dark.

A shuffling sound above them drew their attention upward. The bucket slid first to one side of the ladder, then the other, each time coming closer to the edge. Before they realized what was happening, the bucket tipped over, raining black paint over them.

The man set her on the floor and wiped his face with his T-shirt. “What the hell?”

Kate swiped her blonde/now black hair from her eyes. At least he was tall. Well over six feet. And dark. She giggled. Well, covered in black paint, he certainly now was dark. Very funny, Madam Silver. Very funny.

“I told you so. Tall, dark, and handsome. I just didn’t say how he’d be dark.” The voice laughed. “Enjoy.”

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