I Know What You Did Last Halloween: Part 2

“Like, I Know What You Did Last Summer? Hmm, sounds original.” Mike crams the last Krispy Kreme donut into his mouth without offering me a single bite, but it’s probably better that I don’t start my morning with a pound of sugar on my stomach.

Especially after that email.

I need absolute clarity of mind to get through this day. And not only because of the tedious work I do as an Editorial Assistant—tracking submissions, ensuring that authors meet journal guidelines, pushing automated messages through the workflow, processing invoices, not nearly enough copyediting of manuscripts, which was what I was expecting when I initially went in for the interview, the impression I still had when I accepted the offer fourteen months ago. I should’ve quit then. After Sam, it’s a wonder I haven’t bailed before now.

I pour myself a mug of lukewarm coffee from the pot and try my best to refrain from gagging when I put it to my lips. It’s bad enough that Dana, the office assistant and someone else who apparently hates her job, still hasn’t restocked the sugar and cream in the breakroom—which were the two things that made the coffee somewhat bearable—but for God’s sake, when will we ever replace that aged coffee maker? It’s seen a better day, and I can’t afford to buy Starbucks every day just to keep my head on straight whenever I receive a cryptic message that makes my hairs stand on end.

Mike finishes his breakfast with a large, audible gulp and says, “I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s probably some internet troll too obsessed with the holiday. Can’t even come up with a better prank.”

“In any other situation, I’d agree with you, but—” I lower  my voice when our co-worker Trisha walks in. “I did do something last Halloween. We both did.”

“Can we not talk about this here?” Mike snaps under his breath.

“What are you two whispering about?” Trisha lifts the lid to the empty donut box, frowns, and immediately whips her head toward Mike.

“Early bird,” he says, smiling.

“I’m the one who bought the damn donuts,” she says, clearly unamused. She snatches the box off the counter, stomps onto the petal controlling the lid to the trash can so hard it cracks, and stuffs box inside.

I wait for her to leave, but she lingers, obviously more interested in our conversation than what to eat for breakfast. She reinserts herself into the space between me and Mike and reaches over his head for a bag of pretzels and a granola bar from the cabinet behind him, shooting me a death glare at the same time.

It’s no secret she has a thing for Mike and thinks I’m creeping in on her territory. Before me, it was Sam.

I guess she doesn’t have to worry about that competition any more. A year later, and the same flowers still enshrine Sam’s abandoned desk. Plastic—giving off the illusion of immortality. Too bad Sam wasn’t so lucky.

A part of me wonders why the company hasn’t hired a replacement yet, why, even though I push it in every afternoon at five before clocking out, her chair is still slightly pulled away from her desk every morning as if expectant of her return.

Every morning the same. This morning no different. In fact, this morning, the chair was pulled all the way out, and turned facing the aisle, as if someone had been sitting there and had briefly stepped away.

Which is why I’m currently hiding out in the breakroom with Mike, the only other person who—before the email—knows what really happened to Sam. The only other person who can assure me that it won’t be Sam who comes back to that chair.

I admit the breakroom, which is more like a breezeway that connects the office suite to the conference room next door, is the wrong place to be discussing our previous indiscretion. There’s too much foot traffic. Anyone can hear us. And since our current predicament is that someone else in fact did hear us, or saw us, or knows something about what we did, enough to send that email, I have to be careful with my words.

Everyone’s a suspect. Even—though I hate to think it—Mike.

When Trisha is gone, and I’m sure she’s out of earshot, I say, “So you didn’t get anything.”

“No.” He exhales loudly through his nostrils. “And I’m sure it’s nothing. You’re overeating to something that’s just a coincidence and nothing more.”

“Fine.” I swiftly leave before he can say anything else. Like I’m just being a woman. Curse our overeating, overemotional selves. Calm down. It’s only a coincidence, I repeat. It’s more settling on my stomach than the former, which causes the bad coffee to bubble and rise.

But I’m still not convinced, and when I return to my desk—directly across from Sam’s—I’m even less convinced. Propped on my keyboard, carefully balanced between the Q and A rows, is a handwritten note. I look to Trisha, who sits next to Sam. The chick is always scowling, but this time, it isn’t at me, because Mike, emerging from the breakroom, has the same look on his face. Four of us share one of five workstations in the suite—one that still has friendly reminders of different processes written on scattered Post-its by the fourth and only absent member of our group.

However, we all feel her presence now. Because those are Sam’s swirly squiggles on the folded sheet of copy paper in front of my computer. They form two words:

“I know.”

So much for coincidences.

I Know What You Did Last Halloween: Part 1 (Intro)

Fall—or for those who like to be fancy, autumn—the season most people look forward to. The cool, crisp breeze in the morning, yet the sun still warms you by the afternoon. Harvest colors and flavors. Cinnamon, nutmeg, sage, pumpkin. Boots, scarfs, and sweaters. Decorations beginning to crowd the store shelves. A pleasant reminder that the holidays are right around the corner.

It’s a season everyone loves. Everyone, that is, but me.

In fact, recently, I’ve come to dread it. I see it now only as the anniversary of what happened to Sam. Something I care not to remember, but as my luck would have it—it seems—fate has other plans.

It’s too early in the morning, and still much too dark in my room for me to be scrolling through emails on my phone. But one email in particular, from an address I don’t recognize, glares at me, and it has me freaked. The longer I stare, reading it over and over again, the brighter my phone’s backlight seems to become. Even when I dial it back to its lowest setting, it still pierces my retinas with seven simple words that, although  nonsuspicious on their own, when strung together, may potentially derail this fantasy of a life I’ve spent the last year concocting for myself…

“I know what you did last Halloween.”

#MicroMondays: Abducted

She shivers by the window. Breath settling to a decent rhythm.

“Drink.” His clammy hand on her shoulder.

Steam rising, she brings the mug to her lips, prays it’s poison.

word count: 30

—Nortina


Written for #MicroMondays. Click here for challenge details, and here to read more “rhythmic” horrors at 30 words.

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of October 30

Rise and shine! Time to get out your stop watches, exercise your typing fingers, and pick your brains for some quick creativity.

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a complete micro-fiction piece in, you guessed it, one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided! Of course, you can come back to edit for grammar & spelling, but the story itself must be written in a minute.

Your prompt may be a photo, or a word, or a sentence—whatever inspires me, and hopefully inspires you too.

All October long, I’m giving you Halloween-themed prompts, and with the night of horror quickly approaching, I thought I’d kick things off with this “witchy” photo prompt…

Now it’s time for the rules. I don’t have many, because we all know rules are no fun, but here are the basic logistics for each challenge:

  • Write your story in one minute. (Use a stop watch to keep yourself honest. 😉 )
  • Post it to your blog and tag it #1MinFiction.
  • Link it back to this prompt post.

And that’s it! Let’s get to writing, shall we? And…

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

#1MinFiction: Precautionary Tale

I learn from the mistakes of murder victims in slasher movies.

I never baby sit the neighbors’ kids. I wouldn’t be caught dead near a campground or lake. I consume energy drinks to stay awake.

I wish I could move my washer and dryer out of the basement. The light flickers. The door slams whenever there’s a draft. The stairs creak . . .

Even when I’m not on them . . .

—Nortina


Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a story in one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided. October will be full of terrifying Halloween-themed prompts. Today’s prompt is: slasher.

 

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of October 23

Rise and shine! Time to get out your stop watches, exercise your typing fingers, and pick your brains for creativity.

If you’re on the US east coast, it’s 9 AM, which means yet another Monday lost to eight dreadful hours spent in the office (unless you actually like your job . . . yeah, right).

I know everyone hates Mondays, but let’s start this Monday off right, with some quick thinking, some quick typing, and hopefully, lots of fun!

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a complete micro-fiction piece in, you guessed it, one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided! Of course, you can come back to edit for grammar & spelling, but the story itself must be written in a minute.

Your prompt may be a photo, or a word, or a sentence—whatever inspires me, and hopefully inspires you too.

All October long, I’m giving you Halloween-themed prompts! This week’s prompt is an homage to our favorite genre of Halloween horror movies…

slasher

Now it’s time for the rules. I don’t have many, because we all know rules are no fun, but here are the basic logistics for each challenge:

  • Write your story in one minute. (Use a stop watch to keep yourself honest. 😉 )
  • Post it to your blog and tag it #1MinFiction.
  • Link it back to this prompt post.

And that’s it! Let’s get to writing, shall we? And…

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

1MinFiction: Suicide Forest

Part 1

“Have you considered your options?”

He speaks as if I’m changing careers, or switching insurance providers, not choosing to end my own life.

But then, I guess it’s a therapist’s job to remain calm. And he has been patient, followed me all the way to Japan, to Aokigahara, where the hopeless living disappear to join the forest’s ghosts . . .

Part 2

Look! There’s the back of one’s head, though her body is turned to me.

I tighten the noose around my neck. It’s so quiet, I can hear Dr. Bowman swallow.

I hesitate to jump right away, but a sudden gust of wind blows the figure’s hair forward, snatches the chair from under me, and the rope squeezes the scream from my throat when I see she has no face.

—Nortina


I tried, I really tried to squeeze all of this into one minute. Alas, my fingers don’t move that fast. But the story just wasn’t complete without a part two, so today I’m giving you two stories written in two minutes. Feel free to bend the rules this week for the sake of some scary good micro-fiction!

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction: Week of October 16

Rise and shine! Time to get out your stop watches, exercise your typing fingers, and pick your brains for creativity.

If you’re on the US east coast, it’s 9 AM, which means yet another Monday lost to eight dreadful hours spent in the office (unless you actually like your job . . . yeah, right).

I know everyone hates Mondays, but let’s start this Monday off right, with some quick thinking, some quick typing, and hopefully, lots of fun!

Monday’s One-Minute Fiction challenges you to write a complete micro-fiction piece in, you guessed it, one minute, no more, no less, based on the prompt provided! Of course, you can come back to edit for grammar & spelling, but the story itself must be written in a minute.

Your prompt may be a photo, or a word, or a sentence—whatever inspires me, and hopefully inspires you too.

All October long, I’m giving you Halloween-themed prompts! This week’s photo prompt may remind you of a certain circular horror movie…

Now it’s time for the rules. I don’t have many, because we all know rules are no fun, but here are the basic logistics for each challenge:

  • Write your story in one minute. (Use a stop watch to keep yourself honest. 😉 )
  • Post it to your blog and tag it #1MinFiction.
  • Link it back to this prompt post.

And that’s it! Let’s get to writing, shall we? And…

Ready . . .

Set . . .

Write!

Deflowered

It Follows me like a shadow,
clings to me like my own skin,
rides my back until I break in
two — I’m a mule to the shame.

In the shower, I scrub off the
film of his semen in scalding
water until my inner thighs
blister. I feel like Jell-O. Police

will know I orgasmed. He’ll say
I wanted it — maybe I did. I see
why tribal cultures circumcise
girls — to keep us from being

whores. Carve out my clitoris
with non-sterile obsidian blade.
Wrap me in gauze, loose enough
to conceal the curve of my hips.

–Nortina


frapalymo#frapalymo (the German version of NaPoWriMo) is hosted by FrauPaulchen and translated from German into English by Bee at Just Fooling Around With Bee. Today’s prompt is: “ film title.”

Asylum

“Dr. Hammond gave Grace a lobotomy yesterday.” Tish speaks nonchalantly, as if talking about the weather.

“Is she dead?” Renee asks.

“It’s like she is now.” Tish shrugs. “She won’t put up much of a fight anymore.” She reclines in the tub. The water is clear, and Renee can see Tish’s blurred naked body just beneath the surface.

“Do you think Dr. Hammond does that?”

“He’s a man in a hospital full of crazy women.” Tish sits up and writes RAPY in permanent marker on the side of the tub. Then she stands. Renee’s eyes are drawn to her perfectly round bottom.

“Are you leaving already?”

“Yes, I’m getting pruned.” She steps out, walks over and sits on the edge of Renee’s tub. “Unless you want me to stay.” She runs her fingers through Renee’s wet hair.

Renee’s eyes drift to Tish’s perky breasts, her hard brown nipples like chocolate chips she could lick.

The door behind them swings open, and Tish jumps to her feet. Dr. Hammond enters. He eyes the women, clicks his tongue in his throat. “Hmm, I thought the shock therapy was working with you two.” He writes on his clipboard and leaves the room.

Tish twists her lips. “Well, I guess we’re not cured, yet.”

Renee pulls her knees to her chin. “Will we ever be cured?”

“No,” Tish says, then submerges herself into the water between Renee’s legs.

—Nortina


asylumThis VisDare prompt is from a few weeks ago, but this photo was too good not to write a story to, no matter how late. As usual, I went over the 150 word limit. 😉