The Door (flash fiction)

The Door

I went to visit my friend Madeline. When I arrived she was cutting up meat in the kitchen. I looked around the room and noticed there was a door in the middle of a wall that I swear I had never seen there before.

“Is that new?” I asked her.

“Hmm what?” she asked without turning round.

“That door. I don’t remember it being there before.”

“Oh that door! Yes it appeared there a few days ago.” she stated.

“Appeared?” I asked.

“Yes. One day it wasn’t there, and then another day it was.”

“And you don’t think that’s odd?” She turned to look at me.

“Yes it’s very odd. Open it and have a look inside.” she suggested. I cautiously walked up to the door and opened the door slowly. All I could see inside was total darkness.

“Is there a light?”

“No it’s totally dark. If you walk in there with a light, the darkness will eat it up.” she told me.

“Excuse me? Eat it up?”

“Walk in there and you’ll see what I mean.” she urged. She stopped cutting up the meat and walked to my side. “Go on!” I gingerly put my foot forward to find there was a floor there. I took a few cautious steps in. I turned my phone’s torchlight on and found it failed to illuminate the blackness around me. I turned to face Madeline.

“That’s totally weird!” I remarked. She smiled at me. It was then I saw her eyes suddenly turn red.

“Goodbye.” she said as she closed the door and I was engulfed in darkness.

“Hey open the door!” I screamed. I walked forwards to where the wall and door should be, but found nothing but empty air. I flailed around lost in the pitch black. “Please open up the door!”

Joanne Fisher

This was inspired by the prompt March Writing Challenge Day 30 – a character encounters a door in their home that wasn’t there before provided by Emine Beasley. Though it wasn’t the main characters actual home…

In other news: I finally got around to submitting some poems to this years issue of Catalyst. I probably won’t hear back until October.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Victory (flash fiction)

The Victory

Meredith suddenly realised a year had passed since the zombie apocalypse. It had been close, but they had prevailed in the end and now things had finally settled down.

So many were missing, she thought as she went into the town centre. She had a busy day today of wandering mindlessly through town with all the others. She might be a zombie now, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t put in a full day of shambling. She mused it was such a shame they couldn’t get fresh human meat anymore, they all had to make do with livestock now.

Joanne Fisher

This was written with the prompt to write a story that takes place a year later provided by the Carrot Ranch March 18 Flash Fiction Challenge.

PSA: Please don’t mistake my penchant for absurdist humour for social commentary. Please ensure you all get fully vaccinated for coronavirus. It’s the best way we can defeat the current pandemic.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Recent Horror Movie Roundup (article)

Over the last few months I’ve been watching quite a lot of horror movies, essentially trying to catch up with ones I’ve missed of late. I thought I would give you my 12 favourites so far. These are not all necessarily the best movies out there, but they’re ones I quite liked, or ones that resonated with me in some way. I’m going to keep the list to films made in the last twenty years as I’ve also watched a lot of older films like all the Christopher Lee Dracula movies, but I would find them harder to rate against more modern films as they really come from a different era. These films are in no particular order and if there are films you plan to see in this list, but haven’t yet, then there may be spoilers ahead (I’ll do my best not to reveal too much). You have been warned.

1. The Descent (2005)

Woman loses husband and child in a car accident. A year later her friends persuade her to go caving with them. They end up finding a cave that hasn’t been explored for a long time and discover there are bipedal creatures stalking them. Someone compared this film to Alien, if it were set in a cave. A very claustrophobic and dimly lit film. There is a theory that there are actually no creatures and the main character has gone insane…

2. Ready or Not (2019)

Woman marries into rich family to find they have wedding night ritual that involves her randomly selecting a card and the rest of the family playing a game… Unfortunately she selects Hide and Seek and finds her new family are now trying to hunt her down to kill her. Darkly comic with rather violent bloody scenes. Has a brilliant and unexpected ending.

3. The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

An unnamed woman is found in a house where a massacre has occurred. Father and son coroners (in their downstairs medical lab) try to find out how she died and some clues to her identity. As the autopsy continues it gets stranger as they find impossibilities, such as writing on the inside of her skin. A very dark and atmospheric film.

4. Dagon (2001)

The closest to a direct Cthulhu Mythos film we may ever get. This film is not actually based on H.P. Lovecraft’s tale Dagon, but his The Shadow Over Innsmouth. If you like weird fish people and tentacles then this is your movie. Wonderfully atmospheric. Word of advice: don’t watch this film while eating the remains of a fish stew like I did. Just don’t.

5. The Ruins (2008)

A group of American tourists holidaying in Mexico decide to visit some Mayan ruins. Hilarity ensues. Well not really. In fact, not at all. This film will make you suspicious of any plant covered ruins, probably for the rest of your life. There are some really gross bits in this one.

6. Unfriended: Dark Web (2018)

This is a sequel to Unfriended, a film I haven’t seen, but as the characters are completely different from the first one this film stands extremely well on its own. Main character steals a computer from the Lost and Found of a cyber cafe (are they still a thing?). The entire film is seen through the screen of this computer. He is online with a group of friends when he finds a hidden cache of videos on his “new” computer showing quite disturbing and violent acts. Then the original owner gets in touch with him and things start to go haywire as the main character and his friends get enmeshed with a secret cabal on the dark web. A very compelling watch. The main character is a doofus.

7. Midsommar (2019)

After the main characters sister and parents die tragically, she travels to Sweden with her boyfriend and his group of friends. The boyfriend and one of the other friends are anthropologists keen to study a remote Swedish community. The vibe of this film is very much like The Wicker Man (and by this I refer to the original 1974 film) with the main character feeling out of place amongst people who still worship their pagan gods, and like The Wicker Man, a sense of unease begins to build. Stunning cinematography and gorgeous settings. I really liked this one, but as it’s over three hours long you have to invest a lot of time into this one.

8. The Children (2008)

I think this is a remake of a 1980s film. A family gets together for Christmas only to find the children suddenly become ill, and then they become murderous. Confirms my suspicions about children and makes me glad I never became a parent.

9. Raw (2016)

Vegan girl goes to Veterinarian school, but is forced to eat some meat during her first week there. Her body begins changing and she starts craving raw meat. I think you can see where this goes…. There are some really shocking moments in this one. It also shows how older siblings can be really awful people.

10. Teeth (2007)

Comedy horror where a chaste Christian girl discovers she has vagina dentata, or in other words, her vagina has teeth. Hilarity ensues as she uses her “gift” to exact revenge on certain males who have wronged her.

11. The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)

This is a dark one. It starts with two girls stranded at their Catholic boarding school during the start of the Christmas holidays. The older one is worried she is pregnant, while the younger one is convinced her parents are dead since they have failed to come and take her home. She also believes she is possessed. There is also a second story of a young woman who has escaped from a mental institution. How these two narratives combine and how it is slowly revealed what actually happened during that holiday is unsettling and chilling. Some moments of gory horror.

12. Banshee Chapter (2013)

I deliberately left this one last. I’ve watched it three times now and there’s something about this film I find compelling and terrifying. Loosely based on the H.P. Lovecraft story From Beyond, this movie is full-on Cosmic Horror. A journalist tries to find out what happened to her friend who has disappeared. She uncovers a video of him taking an experimental drug and then finds more video footage of secret government trials of this same drug being used on volunteers in the 1960s. The drug turns their mind into a receiver which lets things from another dimension enter them and wear them as skin. She also uncovers a numbers station that transmits a sequence of letters and numbers that are the same as what people in the video are repeating. In the end she contacts a famous counter-culture author (very much based on Hunter S. Thompson) and they end up searching for the place the numbers are being transmitted from. Disaster ensues. It took a long time to get this film out of my head. The song The Girl in the Window which plays during the closing credits (and one other time during the film) also got stuck in my head. In the end I downloaded and listened to it for days trying to decipher the lyrics… If you’re a sensitive soul like me, this may not be the best film for you…

Anyway I hope you found this article interesting. I’m also wanting to see Underwater (2020) a film with Mythos overtones and starring Kristen Stewart, La Casa Muda (with English subtitles), and Hagazussa (with English subtitles). If anyone knows of where I can find free (or extremely cheap) versions of these please let me know.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Detective (flash fiction)

The Detective

Raewyn was about to close the shop. It was dark outside and it had been a slow day with few customers. A man suddenly walked through the door and flashed her some identification.

“Hi ma’am, I’m Detective Jones. We’re checking the area as one of the world’s most notorious serial killers has escaped from a prison nearby. We need everyone to keep an eye out for anyone acting suspiciously, as the killer will be dangerous.” He told her. Raewyn put her hand up to her mouth in shock.

“That’s terrible. What do they look like?”

“He has short brown hair, is of medium height, and prefers to wear suits.”

“So he sort of looks like you.” she replied. The Detective smiled.

“I guess so ma’am.”

“Does he have a name?” Raewyn asked.

“He’s known as The Detective.”

“The Detective?”

“Yes. He likes to impersonate police detectives to put his victims at ease. Then he kills them horribly.” he replied. Raewyn went pale and slowly backed away from him. He smiled at her as he began to remove something from his coat pocket…

Joanne Fisher

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Dark Path (flash fiction)

The Dark Path

She walked through the forest carrying her basket. Behind her she heard footsteps, so she hid amongst the trees as they got louder. On the path she saw a tall man carrying an axe. She stayed hidden waiting for him to pass by. Unexpectedly he stopped from just where she was watching. He turned in her direction.

“I saw you ahead of me. Don’t be afraid, I’m not here to harm you. There is a wolf in the forest.” the man said. Against her better judgement she walked back onto the path, and faced him.

“I have heard of the wolf,” she told him. “But I was told if I stayed to the path I should be fine.”

“I’m not sure the wolf knows those rules.” the man said. “What’s a young girl doing walking through the forest after dark?”

“I’m visiting my grandmother. She’s poorly at the moment, so I’m taking her some food.”

“What a good young granddaughter. Do you mind if I join you? At least I can offer some protection if the wolf picks up our scent.” the man offered. “My name is Johan by the way. I’m a woodcutter.”

“They call me Red.” the girl said.

“Is that why you wear a red cloak?” Johan asked.

“I like the colour red.”

The two of them walked down the path. Above the trees the sky was covered in bright stars as the moon hadn’t risen yet. They mostly walked in silence. The forest seemed unusually quiet around them.

“Why does your grandmother live out in forest?” Johan queried. Red shrugged her shoulders.

“I don’t know really. She just likes it out here. She’s lived in her little cottage for years.” Red answered.

“Has she ever had any trouble with wolves?”

“No. She doesn’t venture out much and never at nighttime. At least not anymore.” Red replied. In the distance they could see a little cottage with light in the window. The moon began to rise.

“Well it seems we’ve arrived with no sign of the wolf.” Johan said as they walked up to the cottage. Red suddenly stopped and faced him.

“There was no trouble, because I am the wolf.” she said as she began to transform. The woodcutter screamed.

Joanne Fisher

This is either my fifth or sixth version of the Red Riding Hood story…

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Just in Time! (flash fiction)

Just in Time!

Jeremy’s car had broken down, so he walked to the creepy castle in the middle of a thunder storm for assistance. When he knocked on the door, it was answered by a creepy-looking old man who led him straight to his Master. While Jeremy explained to the Master about his car, everything suddenly went black and he collapsed onto the floor.

“That was fortunate. Talk about right place, right time!” the Master said as he looked down on his creation, now with Jeremy’s stretched face added. “Now Igor, let’s hook this up to the grid, and see what happens!”

Joanne Fisher

This was written with the prompt right place right time provided by the Carrot Ranch February 18 Flash Fiction Challenge.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Fear The Bald Man (flash fiction)

Fear The Bald Man

She sat on the edge of the bed covered in blood. Next to her lay a man split open from his throat down to his crotch. Already the police were there taking photographs of the bloody murder and closing down the crime scene. Detective Franks stood above her.

“Miss? I’m told your name is Mary. Can I call you that? Can you hear me? Why did you kill him?” he asked her in the hopes of getting a response from the almost catatonic woman.

“I didn’t kill him. It was The Bald Man.” Mary replied while still staring at the wall in front of her.

“The Bald Man?” asked Franks. She unexpectedly looked up at him.

“You’ve never heard of The Bald Man?”

“No I’m afraid not.”

“He’s not of this world. He can slide through walls and no where is safe from him. Once you’re his target, there is nothing you can do to escape his judgement.” Mary informed him.

“His judgement?”

“Yes he judges everyone he sees, and if they’re not worthy enough in his eyes he follows them, and when he finally has them he cuts them open and eats their insides.”

“I see. The problem I have is the only prints we’ve found belong to you and the victim here. The bloody knife on the floor has your fingerprints.” Franks told her.

“The Bald Man has no prints.” she replied.

“That’s convenient.”

“I had to use that knife to defend myself. The Bald Man doesn’t need a knife. His fingernails can grow out and they’re as sharp as razor blades. That’s how he cut open Justin.”

“Well we’re going to have to take you in as you’re the only suspect we have.” Franks declared. Mary looked up at him with her dark eyes.

“The Bald Man is coming for you too.”

Joanne Fisher

This was written with the prompt The Bald Man provided by Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Tale Weaver Prompt #315.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Old Castle (fiction)

The Old Castle

Somehow I had taken the wrong road and found myself lost. I was still new to the area and had gone for a walk along the idyllic country roads. A mist had unexpectedly come down in the late afternoon and it was now getting cooler. On the hill above me there rose an old crumbling stone castle. In need of warmth and safety, I walked up to the main gate and knocked on the solid wood door not really expecting to get a response. To my surprise the door opened up with a loud creak, and there stood an old man slightly bent over and dressed in rags. He leered at me.

“How can I help you miss?” he asked in a coarse voice. Taken aback, I was for a moment speechless.

“I’m lost and it’s getting cold. I was wondering if I could come inside for a time so I can get warm again, kind sir?” I asked him while feeling doubtful whether I should really go inside that old castle with him. He smiled and laughed crudely.

“Certainly miss. Come inside, the Mistress will be awake soon.” he said holding the door open for me. I had some reservations about walking in there, but it was cold and so against my better judgement I walked across the threshold. He closed the door behind me. “This way miss.”

I followed him as he led me through old dark musty rooms with his lighted candelabra dreading where it might end. We went up some stairs and he opened a door and beckoned me to go inside. No sooner had I done so, then he shut the door loudly behind me. I heard him lock it, and then he walked off laughing again.

“Let me out!” I screamed at him.

“Enjoy your brief stay miss.” I heard him say with a voice moving further away.

I tried forcing the door open, but it was locked fast and made from the same solid wood the main gate was. I looked around the room. It was dark, but there were some narrow slits in the wall which the fading light came through. Once my eyes adjusted to the gloom I saw in the middle of the room there was a black coffin. I thought it an odd place to house a coffin, so I went to investigate and opened it up. To my shock there was a dead woman inside it. She had long dark hair and ivory skin. She wore a black dress. I closed the lid and went back to the door and started pounding on it as loudly as I could.

“Please let me out!” I screamed, but there was no response. “There’s a corpse in here for God’s sake!”

Slowly the light in the room died out and I reckoned it must be dusk by now. To my shock the coffin lid suddenly opened up and the woman I presumed to be dead slowly emerged out of it. She looked at me and gave a dark smile.

“So nice of my servant to bring me some breakfast!” she said. She opened her mouth to reveal long white fangs. She approached me with a hungry look in her black pitiless eyes. I screamed, but no one else heard it.

Joanne Fisher

I’ve been watching a lot of the old Hammer vampire movies lately…

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

The Plantlife (flash fiction)

The Plantlife

“This is probably my final communication. At the moment I am trapped in a cave and my survival prospects seem to be virtually zero at this point.

My team landed on the planet Aldis 4 and found a planet teeming with plant species, but with no other higher forms of life. As far as we could tell there were no mammals, reptiles, or even bird life like we find on Earth. The only other lifeforms we could find were an abundance of insects. It was Perkins, our botanist, that speculated the entire planet seemed to form a single entity and the static we were getting on our instruments was a stream of consciousness that was being emitted beyond our range of hearing by the plant life.

When we decided to take some samples, that’s when things went terribly wrong. In a short space of time my team were either throttled or dismembered by extremely quick and powerful vines that seemed to come out of nowhere. I managed to escape into a nearby small cave which I immediately blocked up with rocks so the creeping vines couldn’t reach me.

I’m now running out of supplies and the air seems to be getting thin. Either I die from hunger and starvation, or I go out there and let the plants quickly end my life. If you receive this message, and you come to this planet, whatever you do: DON’T PICK THE FLOWERS!”

Joanne Fisher

Inspired by a prompt I got wrong, so I expanded it.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Tenacious (flash fiction)

Tenacious

No one had expected Amelia to survive her death, but here she was standing by the grave she had just dug up from. It had been difficult at first, but her will to endure overcame any problems digging through the earth had posed. She was alive. She was tenacious. She was immortal now.

Amelia walked out of the graveyard. Having overcome death, it was now time to feed, and she was so very hungry.

Joanne Fisher

Word count: 73 + prompt

This was written with the prompt tenacious provided by Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #192.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher