Halloween Frights
October 1st
Jack-O-Lantern by R.A. Goli
    Layla opened her eyes, blinking into the dimness. Strapped to a chair, her arms ached. In the flickering candlelight, she could make out the hideously carved Jack-O-Lanterns scattered about the room. 
    Her panic bloomed at the sound of heavy footfalls. The door opened; a light flicked on. She squinted against the blaring fluorescence. A tingling sensation rippled down her legs as she blinked up at the man with the knife, his face obscured by a blood-flecked rubber mask. She thrashed in her bindings. 
     As her eyes adjusted, she realized they weren’t Halloween pumpkins after all, but hollowed out human heads. 

About the Author:
R.A. Goli is an Australian writer of horror, fantasy, and speculative short stories. In addition to writing, her interests include reading, gaming, the occasional walk, and annoying her dog, two cats, and husband.

Check out her numerous publications including her fantasy novella, The Eighth Dwarf, and her collection of short stories, Unfettered at https://ragoliauthor.wordpress.com/ or stalk her on facebook https://www.facebook.com/RAGoliAuthor/.


October 2nd
The Ash Man by Zoey Xolton
   
    Bonfires burn across the land, and torches blaze– to hold back the darkness, and guide the dead. Revellers dance and cavort, drinking spiced mead and making love beneath the autumn moon. 
    Silver-haired women speak in hushed tones, warning wide-eyed children of the spirits and monsters that lurk in the dark. Candles flicker as the night wears on, fires burn low.
    Just before sunrise, as the villagers lay spent, sated and safe, knowing the dawn will come… the Ash Man arises. From the glowing embers he stalks, sapping the life from the sleepers.
    For them, the sun would rise too late.


About the Author:
Zoey Xolton is a published Australian Speculative Fiction author, with a particular penchant for the Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Sci-Fi and Horror genres. Her works have appeared in several themed anthologies, with many more due for publication, soon! She is also a proud mother of two, and is fortunate enough to be married to her soul mate. Outside of her family, writing remains her greatest passion. She is especially fond of short form fiction, and is working on releasing her own story collections in future; as well as a series of novelettes and novellas. To find out more, please visit: www.zoeyxolton.com!​


October 3rd
The Best Decorations in Town by
      Amber M. Simpson
   
     Betty Gershaw’s Halloween decorations were her pride and joy; particularly her collection of trick-or-treaters – an assortment of child-sized figures dressed in costumes, candy bags in hand. Setting them up on her porch and lawn, Betty noticed one of her witches was damaged. She frowned. It would need replacing.
     Halfway through Halloween night, a little girl dressed as a witch came knocking. Betty looked her up and down.
     “Come inside, where the good candy is,” she said with a wink. 
     Ten minutes later, she placed her new decoration outside. Smoothing the fabric of the witch’s costume, Betty beamed with pride.



About the Author:
Amber M. Simpson is a dark speculative fiction writer from Northern Kentucky with a penchant for horror and fantasy. She has been published in multiple themed anthologies as well as online. She loves creating dark worlds and diverse characters, but her favorite creations of all are her sons, Max and Liam, who keep her feet on the ground even while her head is in the clouds. 

To learn more, visit: https://www.ambermsimpson.com.



October 4th
Darkest Dreams by Kelly Matsuura
    
     It’s a costume, I say to myself. Just a stupid Halloween costume. 
     I’m wearing it to the block party, I’ll have my photo taken in it, and then I’ll take it off. 
     Probably. 
     As I cross the neighborhood, I feel it stirring. 
     No, not it. Me. I feel me inside, ready to come out. This suit with its alum claws, synthetic skin and black folded wings, makes my darkest dream come alive. I’m reborn.
     I turn the corner and spot the perfect victim—my ex, Georgios. As I tear wildly at his chest and face, he screams in pure terror.
     “Harpy!”


About the Author:
​​ Kelly Matsuura lives in Japan, and writes Young Adult, fantasy, and literary fiction. She runs The Insignia Series' blog and various anthology projects, all promoting Asian fantasy writers and stories. ​​


October 5th
Ghost Hunters by G. Allen Wilbanks
    
     “Why are we in the middle of the woods?” he asked when I stopped walking.
     I pointed at a nearby tree. “A man was hung from that tree exactly twenty-five years ago on Halloween night. On Halloween five years later, another man died in its branches. In fact, someone has died in that tree by hanging every five years since.”
     “So, why are we here?”
     “Do you believe in ghosts?” I asked.
     “I don’t know. I’ve never seen one personally.”
     “Me either,” I said. I removed a coil of rope from my backpack. “But that hasn’t stopped me from trying.”




About the Author:
G. Allen Wilbanks is a member of the HWA and has published over 80 short stories in Daily Science Fiction, Deep Magic, The Talisman, and other venues. He has also released two short story collections, and the novel, When Darkness Comes. For more information, please visit the author’s website at www.gallenwilbanks.com. ​​


October 6th
Party Til You Die by AR Johnston
         
    “Tick, tock,” he crowed waving a bloody knife. 
    “Why are you doing this?” she asked, tears streaming down her face. 
    It was supposed to be a fun night in a haunted house on Halloween. They all got the same invite. It was a school party for seniors, of course they were going to go. 
    However, it turned into something out of a classic horror film. One by one, people started to slowly vanish throughout the night. 
    Bloody trails… it was supposed to be fake. But everyone was dead, bodies all around her. 
    And now it was her turn to die. 





About the Author:
AR Johnston is a small town girl from Nova Scotia, Canada. She is known to write mostly urban fantasy, though she goes where the muses lead her and you never know where that may be. She is a lover of coffee, good tv shows, horror flicks, and a reader of good books. She pretends to be a writer when real life doesn’t get in the way. Pesky full-time job and adulting!

You can find her on FB at:  www.facebook.com/arjohnstonauthor  
 Or at:  arjohnstonauthor.wordpress.com.



October 7th
Happy Haley by Chandler Warren
         
     The mother tucked her little girl in bed with a kiss on the forehead. “Don’t you want Happy Haley with you?” 
     “No,” said the little girl, turning away from her former favorite doll. “She said she would gobble me up and gnaw on my bones.”
     “What on earth…?” 
     The mother handed Ellie the Elephant to the little girl, then went to tell her husband not to read scary fairy tales as bedtime stories anymore.
     Horror greeted the little girl’s parents the next morning. Their daughter’s bones, gnawed almost clean, were neatly arranged on the bed. Happy Haley sat grinning nearby.





About the Author:
Chandler Warren writes short fiction from a tiny house in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. When not writing, Warren can be found reading, camping, or re-watching episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.



October 8th
A Matter of Life and Death 
        by Sandy Butchers
              
     “I’m so bored,” said the corpse hanging by a noose in the willow.
     “Walk with me tonight,” the witch replied. She helped the corpse down, allowing it to climb down from her shoulders to the ground. 
     “Won’t people be scared of us?” the corpse asked.
     “It’s Halloween, everybody is dressed up scary tonight. They won’t know you’re real,” the witch grinned. 
     It was a wonderful night, scaring and pranking the wandering youngsters.
     “Thank you,” the corpse said with a satisfied smile. Back at the willow, he climbed back up, attached the noose around his neck, and hung lifeless once again.






About the Author:
Sandy Butchers is an author and an artist, known for her elaborate fantasy worlds and creature designs. After living in Scandinavia for a year and traveling throughout the world, she now settled in the countryside, along with a variety of pets and maps on which X marks the spot.



October 9th
The Perfect Fertilizer 
        by Joshua D Taylor
              
     The people of Patchville bolted their doors and shuttered their windows as another child went missing. They lived in fear as each day, another one of their darlings was taken with no explanation or ransom. Halloween was canceled and costumes collected dust. The police were at a loss. Hysteria gripped the community as neighbor accused neighbor and unbearable grief threatened to destroy the small town.
     Except for old Miss Clara, who smiled with rosy cheeks as she tended to her bumper crop of pumpkins. Townsfolk began to whisper; the more children that disappeared, the more pumpkins appeared on her vines.







About the Author:
Joshua D Taylor is an author who started writing a few years ago when he realized he was too old to play make-believe. He lives in southeastern Pennsylvania with his wife and a one-eared cat.  He enjoys gardening, comic books, ska-punk music, Disney World, and traveling with his wife. Raised during weirdness that was the late 20th century Josh’s eclectic interests produce eclectic works. He loves to mix-n-match things from different genres and stories elements to achieve a madcap hodgepodge of the truly unexpected.



October 10th
The Scarecrow  by E. Jarzembski
              
    I hated the thing; his soulless black eyes, his perpetual smirk. He sent chills down my spine. Hanging upon his post all day and night, observing everything over the top of the corn. He didn’t keep the crows away. They flocked to him, staring evilly from their perch. I could feel his gaze burning a hole in my back. I turned, scowling at him. In the fading light, his smirk seemed more of a glower. He looked menacing, cast in the red rays of dusk. 
    His shadow fell over me. My skin went cold. 
    He inclined his head, crows scattering.








About the Author:
Emily is a wife and mother of one. Originally from Texas, she moved to the North of England at nineteen. She enjoys traveling the British countryside with her family and dog, from the Yorkshire Dales and Moors to the Lake District, to the Highlands of Scotland. The beauty of nature and the rich folklore of the UK spark her imagination and inspire her writing.



October 17th
Smashed Pumpkins and Glass Shards 
      by Cindar Harrell
              
     “And the finishing touch: glass slppers!” I allowed the store clerk to place them on my feet, watching as they sparkled.
     “They’re perfect!”
     I arrived late to the Halloween party, but Cinderella always makes an entrance. I smiled as the other guests stared at me, my shimmering gown and real diamonds all designed to catch every hint of light.
     My “prince” was won over immediately and led me to the back of the pumpkin patch.
    “You look amazing, Ashton.”
     My heart raced when he kissed me. 
    The last things I saw in this life were smashed pumpkins and glass shards.


About the Author:
Cindar Harrell loves fairy tales, especially ones with a dark twist. Her writing is often fairy tale inspired, but she also loves mystery and horror. Her stories can be found in various anthologies from publishers such as Black Hare Press, Iron Faerie Publishing, Dragon Soul Press, Blood Song Books, Soteira Press, Fantasia Divinity and more. Traveling is a passion for her as it inspires her imagination to run wild, especially in places that have a mystic presence in the air. She regularly moonlights as another human, but no matter who she is, she is always writing. Her novella inspired by The Snow Queen is set to release in 2020 as well as her debut novel, Lithium, and short story collection, Perchance to Dream. You can follow her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CindarHarrell/ which she promises to try and update more often.



October 19th
Pumpkin Beater  by Claire Davon
              
     The candle guttering in the ceramic pumpkin cast wavering shadows on the porch. At this hour, the trick-or-treaters were long gone, and the Halloween decorations swayed in the breeze.
     Something rustled behind him and Travis spun, but saw nothing. He continued his slide toward the porch, the jagged teeth and empty eyes of the pumpkin seeming to follow him as he got closer. The freaky pumpkin had to go, there was no other option.
     The shadows lengthened when he stepped onto the entryway. As he reached for the pumpkin, a shade soared upward, cloaking him in darkness.
     Then it attacked.




October 20th
Satan  by Gabriella Balcom
              
     "Obey!" Olgana backhanded Satan, sending him flying. She planned to enthrawl the town on Halloween, and wanted him to bring her what she needed.
     The cat twisted in midair, landed on his paws, and hurried for the ingredients. He'd passed nine lives long ago, but she could still hurt him. Worse, she could hurt Yanna.
      Intent on her potion, Olgana didn't notice when he accidentally scratched her, then slipped away.
      He dashed to his real mistress, knowing she'd know exactly what to do with the other witch's blood.
      Within minutes, Yanna regained her stolen power, turning Olgana into a slug. 



About the Author:
Gabriella Balcom lives in Texas with her family, loves reading and writing, and thinks she was born with a book in her hands. She works in a mental health field, and writes fantasy, horror/thriller, romance, children’s stories, and sci-fi.

She likes traveling, music, good shows, photography, history, interesting tales, and animals. Gabriella says she’s a sucker for a great story and loves forests, mountains, and back roads which might lead who knows where. She has a weakness for lasagna, garlic bread, tacos, cheese, and chocolate, but not necessarily in that order. You can check out her author page at: https://m.facebook.com/GabriellaBalcom.lonestarauthor



October 21st
Shadow in the Eaves  by
       Matthew M. Montelione
              
     Librarian Mary Watts was freaking out. “I’m telling you,” Mary said, “there was a creepy shadow in the eaves, but nobody was there!”
     Harper laughed. “It’s Halloween, Mary. You’re psyching yourself out. There’s tons of boxes that still need to go back there.” 
     “Well, I’m not doing it tonight. I’m leaving soon and still have to type the newsletter.”
     Later, Harper carried the last of the boxes to the library’s eaves.
     The next day, Harper arrived dishevelled and anxious.
    “Are you alright?” Mary asked. “You’re really pale.”
    Harper was suddenly very thirsty. She stared at Mary as new fangs dropped.

 


About the Author:
Matthew M. Montelione is a horror writer born and raised on Long Island in New York. His stories have been published in Quoth the Raven: A Contemporary Reimagining of the Works of Edgar Allan Poe, Thuggish Itch: Devilish, MONSTERS: A Horror Microfiction Anthology, Eerie Christmas, and other titles. Matthew is also an American Revolution historian who focuses on the local experiences of Loyalists on Long Island. His work on the subject has been published in Long Island History Journal and Journal of the American Revolution. Matthew lives with his wife in New York. 

Links
Official website: maybeevils.com
Twitter: maybeevils



October 25th
Halloween Surprse  by
       Vonnie Winlsow Crist
              
    Too old to beg for candy, Maddox decided it'd be fun to scare his younger sister and her friends while they were trick-or-treating. Careful to remain out of sight, he followed them.
    Be patient. Wait until the right moment if you really want to frighten them, he told himself.
    He spotted a graveyard the girls would pass on their way to the next group of homes. After hurrying ahead, Maddox climbed the cemetery's wall, and crouched down.
     But he was the one surprised when rotten hands reached from the grave beneath his feet and pulled him, screaming, beneath the sod.
 


About the Author:
Vonnie Winslow Crist is author of The Enchanted Dagger, Owl Light, The Greener Forest, Murder on Marawa Prime, and other books. Her fiction appears in "Amazing Stories," Killing It Softly 2, Chilling Ghost Short Stories, Potter's Field 4 & 5, Sea of Secrets, Midnight Masquerade, Monsters, Samhain Secrets, Best Indie Speculative Fiction: 2018, Zombies for a Cure, Creep Anthology of Horror Stories, and elsewhere. For more information: www.vonniewinslowcrist.com



October 26th
Cerberus  by
       Connor Sassmannshausen
              
     The full moon fell on the last of October, and that meant it was the best time for a mortal to try to get into the Underworld. The doorway opened when the moon was at its highest, and he slipped through. 
     He crept along the river Styx, toward the gates that would lead him to Hades' palace. 
     A growl echoed through the antechamber. He was good with dogs, so he continued on.         As the doors came into view, he was met with a massive beast with three heads. Well, that was new. Then the beast lunged toward him, teeth flashing.

 


October 27th
Bloody Trick-or-Treating  by
       Olivia Arieti
              
      Ben and Gary were toasting to the success of their latest robbery, careless of the many victims, when hurried knocks interrupted their merrymaking.
      “Trick or treat,” cried a sensual voice.
      They ran to the window and saw a damsel accompanied by a guy dressed as Count Dracula. 
       “Hey, it’s Halloween, tonight, buddy,” Ben said.
       “Swell,” his partner sneered, “We’ll play a trick on the bloke and give a spicy treat to his belle." 
       No sooner the vampires had entered than they plunged their fangs into the criminals’ necks. 
       Then they walked out in search of other depraved souls to recruit.


October 28th
Misguided Seance  by
       N.M. Brown
              
      “Are you sure you’re doing this right?” Linda asked. 
      “I’m literally doing exactly what it says to do. It’s Halloween; 3:33 AM,” I whispered. 
      The mirror ritual was something hard to find the rules to; but easy to execute. My best friend Linda’s dad suffered a fatal heart attack ten days prior. She didn’t get to say goodbye. 
      Nothing happened for a good while. Our chair’s groaned with relief as we stood to clean up. The mirror hissed and clouded over. 
       A red eyed beast snarled at us from behind the glass. Whatever we summoned was not Linda’s father.

Halloween Reads:
Six Keys by Meg Garcia
A teen haunted by an entity, a love interest with a deadly secret, a text from a dead girl’s phone. Six Keys is a collection of thirteen short horror stories where all characters are separated by their own origins but find themselves sharing a common thread. Only the best of the worst will receive a key to their own Hell. In each story this novel takes your mind and turns it against you in ways that make you wonder, how well can you trust yourself, and what could ever be capable of doing such an impossible task. The mind is like a lock box where we keep everything that makes us who we are. It holds our secrets, memories, passwords, and morals. It is what everyone in this world is the most dependent on, something that no one can ever fully get in to. But what if someone had a key? A key that would allow them to enter your mind and invade everything you’ve ever known to be real? Turning what is wrong, right. Removing hesitation, and taking over what makes you, you. 


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