Ghosts on the Sand

SandraBookCoverGhostsOnTheSand

I opened my mouth to speak, but something was wrong. My lips wouldn’t move. I couldn’t even swallow. The wrinkled face seemed to be a long way above me. It turned fuzzy and started to fade like an old photo.

What was wrong with me?

It took every ounce of energy I possessed, but I forced myself to speak.

“A lime split and a 99, please,” I whispered. But no one heard me. The ice-cream van had disappeared, leaving me alone on a desolate beach.

Falling to the ground, I gasped for breath. My chest was tight and my head throbbed. The air around me was heavy and oppressive. Except for the drone of a single plane, the world was completely silent.

The sun no longer warmed the earth. It had been replaced with a blanket of darkness.

Where am I?

Watch out for my new compilation of Chilling Tales. Coming soon!
Book cover by the amazing Kara Boulden 

 

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EYES ON ME!

one-sunday-morning

She tossed and turned, but sleep wouldn’t come. The bedroom was cold! She could see her breath, the bed was cold too!

The furnace must have broken!

Pulling the covers tightly around her, Lou burrowed into them. They felt damp and icy!

Dammit whats wrong. 

Reluctantly she got out of bed and grabbed her robe. Her fingers touched something gelatinous. She screamed and recoiled! Fumbling in the dark, she looked for the light switch.

Found it. 

Frantically she switched it on. Nothing. She reached for the bedside lamp, it didn’t work either. Pulling back the drapes, she looked out of the window. The world was engulfed in fog. Heavy, dark and thick. Swirling like clouds.

I feel eyes on me!

Carefully, slowly and trying not to panic, Lou made her way downstairs and into the kitchen. Pitch black, hard to move, hard to breath.

She found the flashlight in the cupboard next to the sink.

Thank god!

She switched it on, it worked. Shining it into the darkness of her home gave her some relief, there was nothing to see.

I need to get some heat in here.

Lou made her way down to the basement and the furnace.

Somethings wrong!

She opened the basement door, letting out a cold stench. It came from something unfamiliar, something terrifying. She didn’t want to look, but couldn’t help it. A dozen distorted, decaying faces looked back at her, their mouths open in a silent scream.

Oh dear God in Heaven!

She fainted!

Horror on the Lake

8A tranquil cottage perched on the edge of a lake, far from civilization. A writer called Jane lived there. She was a recluse. Occasionally Jane took part in radio interviews and podcasts, but never interviewed live. One of her novels, “Hidden Horrors” became a best seller, but she declined book signings.

“Jane, your book sales would go through the roof if you appeared in person. Don’t you want to be a millionaire?” her agent asked, but Jane remained in her cottage by the lake. Her vast garden made her almost self-sufficient. A new cell tower gave her mobile phone a signal. She submitted all manuscripts electronically. The royalties from her novels more than provided for the rustic life she lived. Her mail was delivered weekly, along with dried goods and meat.

Jane watched the late morning sun dancing on the ripples in the water.

“Mummy look, who’s that over there?”

Jason was six years old now, he was a slow developer, but could talk well. Jane looked across the lake to where he pointed and saw the bulky shape of his father. The shape retreated into the shadows.

“Its nothing to worry about sweetie, maybe just a bear or something. I’ll keep my eyes on it. The bears don’t bother us.”

“Maybe we should get a dog mummy, to scare the bears away.”

Jane shivered as she remembered what happened to Penny. “Yes, maybe one day we’ll get a dog.”

Jason turned round and looked at her. From the back her child could have been any other six-year-old. His face told a different story. His huge green eyes almost met over the bridge of his nose. His mouth was wide, way too wide, and those huge teeth! Jane shuddered. She should have never given birth to the child, but she didn’t have a choice. Her pregnancy lasted only three months, and it was painful. The creature who raped her, never left her side until the abomination was born. He was gentle, and tended to her, but only as a vessel to continue his dying legacy. Now he sat across the lake and watched, making sure nothing happened to his offspring.

Jason ran to her on all fours, looking more and more like his father every day. He jumped up and hugged her. At six years old he so strong he knocked her on her back, bruising her face. She was terrified of him! Felt no love or affection, but needed to play the role of loving mother in the hopes that one day she’d escape.

Halloween – The Scent of a Woman

lakePenny lifted her head and sniffed the air! She stood up and growled, then whimpered. Jane closed the door and came back inside.”Hey, don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere without you. Penny stood rigid, staring at the closed-door.

“You want to go for a walk? Come on the, let’s get your leash, don’t want you to get lost do we?”

Usually when the W A L K word was mentioned Penny barked, excited to be outside. Today that word terrified her, she hid under the bed.

“OK, I guess that’s a no!”

Jane poured another glass of wine and walked to the window. The view was hypnotic. Maybe I should have become a painter, or photographer. She thought to herself. Tired and frustrated she sat in front of her computer again.

The lake was still and deep, she wrote, a single canoe was moored by a boat house. The night was silent. Somewhere, deep in the forest, evil waited. It wouldn’t have to wait long.  

The words began to flow, so engrossed was she in her writing that she never heard Penny’s pathetic whining as the dog cowered beneath the bed.

An hour passed before Jane came up for air. She’d written almost a full chapter. Yes, we have liftoff!

Pleased with herself, she stood up and stretched, her creative juices flowing. All is not lost!

“Penny come on, let’s get some fresh air, you need to pee.”

Penny whimpered and backed further under the bed. She could smell danger and wanted no part of it!

“Penny what’s wrong with you?” Jane asked as she grabbed a dog treat and crouched down to coax her companion from the shadows. Dogs can be smart at times, but not when there are treats involved. Penny scuttled forward, licking her lips in anticipation. As her mouth closed on the treat, Jane grabbed her.

“Gotcha!”

With Penny tightly secured under her arm, she headed to the front door. Penny wriggled and whimpered, but Jane held her tight.

“Look, nothing out here to be scared of, it’s a beautiful night.”

She placed the dog on the porch, “Now go do what you have to do, its cold.” Penny walked back inside and poured another glass of wine, pleased with herself. Her head was full of words and evil images. She was inspired.

The cold air worked on the dogs bladder. She ran down the porch steps and sniffed until she found a place to pee. She looked into the darkness with wide eyes. Something bad was lurking, she felt it. The scent was strong, Penny whimpered, but not for long.

A huge six-fingered hand grabbed her belly, a second-hand grabbed her head. She didn’t feel the teeth sink into her back. The quick twist of hands broke her neck in seconds.

When Jane walked back onto the porch she couldn’t see her dog, but she could hear her, or so she thought.

“Penny! Penny come on, its cold out here. Don’t stray. Where are you?”

Great, just when I’m inspired!

Grabbing a flashlight from the table by the door, she pointed the beam into the darkness, towards the sound.

“Penny!”

What she heard was the sort of sound Penny made when she ate wet dog food. Oh god, she’s found a dead animal.

“Penny, put it down! Penny! Oh my god!”

The strong beam rested on a horrendously disfigured face. A pair of huge deformed hands held the remains of her pet. Blood dripped from the creature’s chin. Penny’s blood!

The grin grew wider as it took another bite before dropping the remains to the ground. He looked at Jane and sniffed. She’s woken a different type of hunger inside him. One he hadn’t felt before!

Ghostly Guidance

swamp1

Larry and his wayward friends left, pleased and excited with the way the night had turned out leaving Jack, Janie and I at the kitchen table, where we talked long into the night. Photos from the old tin were spread out in front of us. The faces on them were now familiar to me. Everything made sense now, well sort of.

“My mom and dad were killed in a car accident when I was twelve years old. I was home alone when the police knocked on the door. They took me with them and arranged for me to go into foster care.”

“Why? Did you have no more family?” I asked.

“No, I didn’t even have a birth certificate.”

“Where was your home?” Jack asked.

“Colorado Springs, it turns out my parents weren’t my birth parents, but took me in when I was a baby. There was no legal documentation. No way of knowing where I’d come from.”

“How do you know they weren’t your parents?”

“A neighbor told the police when they were trying to track down family. She’s known my mom a long time, knew she couldn’t have kids.”

Jack shook his head, “You were so close, less than an hour away from me for all of these years. How did you end up on here? How did you get involved with the scumbags on Colfax?”

“I ran away when I was fifteen. My foster parents were awful, I was nothing more than an unpaid child minder to their spoilt kids. The man tried to abuse me several times, he’d hit me and threaten me. It was a nightmare. His wife didn’t believe me, she hated me for telling her.”

“How did you come by the photos, the ones you’ve just showed to us?” I asked.

Janie’s eyes filled with tears. “I found them in my mom’s room when the cops took me back there to collect my belongings, I’d never seen them before so I snatched them, hoping they’d help me find my real parents.”

“You know the girl in the photos is my daughter Janie, don’t you!”

“Yes, thats why I’m here, I recognized you when I saw you walking down the road one day. You were younger in the photos, but I knew it was you. I figured out you were my grandad. I was happy, but scared to talk to you because I’m a no good drifter!”

Jack covered his face with his hands, rubbed his bleary eyes and then spoke in a weak trembling voice, “Don’t ever say that about yourself. I can see you mother in you. I knew the first moment I laid eyes on you. I don’t care about your past, what you’ve done, or where you’ve been. I want to make your future better, I want to make up for everything you’ve missed. Your mother died giving birth to you. I let her down, I miss her and I can never fix that, but you are going to have the life she never got chance to live!”

I could see it was time for me to leave.

“I’m going to let you two talk and figure out your future, I’ll see myself out.”

Jack looked up at me. “Thank you for everything!”

“Hey, don’t thank me, thank Alice Hobson, she’s my grandma and the one who pushed me to help. I suspect your wife and daughter conspired with her to draw Janie to the barn, and close to you. Its got to be more than coincidence”

I felt my gran smile inside my head, she liked it when I talked about her.

“You’re different that for sure,” Jack responded, “but in a good way I guess.”

I looked back towards the kitchen before I opened the front door. Jack and his new-found grand child sat opposite each other, holding hands across the table. Behind Jack, and probably only visible to me, stood his wife, she smiled across at her daughter Janie, who stood behind her namesake. They were there for a few seconds and then they were no more.

The kitchen was filled with the smell of fresh bread.

 

Revelation Tin

christmas-cookie-tin-vintage-green-fruit-bells-nutcracker-wreath-on-gold-lid-8a91ef866b8eb3bbe6a19b6dd17f3778We waited in silence for the cab to arrive. Silence wasn’t a good thing in a motel like that. The noises from the rooms on either side didn’t leave much to the imagination. I tried hard not to put Janie’s face in one of those rooms. Although we’d waited no more than five minutes, it seemed like an eternity and when the cab finally arrived I fled. As I left the room I looked behind me. Larry was rumpling the bed covers. “we have to make it look like we slept here at least”

I shivered, “whatever!” The thought of sleeping in that bed gave me the creeps. “Where to?” the driver asked as Larry slid in the back seat beside me.”

“Stagecoach Salon, Franktown.” Larry replied.

The cab pulled out onto the main road. “Thats a long way man, you good for the money?” Larry reached over and waved a hundred dollar bill in the guys face. “That should cover it. Keep the change.”

The city lights disappeared in the rearview mirror and the soft darkness of Douglas County swallowed us. “I hope Jacks OK”

Larry was silent. I looked at him. “He will be OK won’t he?” I asked.

“I don’t know, he’s an old guy, may have had a heart attack.

It seemed to take an eternity to get to the bar, and when we arrived, it was in darkness. I looked at Larry, he pointed to a dark shape in the gloom by the fence. It was the van. “You sure you want to be dropped off here?” the cab driver said. “Looks like its closed.”

“Yea, we’re good, thanks man.”

We watched the cabs tail lights disappear in the distance. “OK, let’s go.” Larry said. We turned to the van and the lights came on, temporarily blinding me.

“Everyone OK,”Larry asked as we slid into the front seat.

“The old guy’s a bit shook up, but I think he’ll survive.”

“How about Janie?” I asked.

“She ran, don’t know where she went!”

“What, when?”

“When we got back here, she took off!”

Larry looked at me. “Great, we went through all of this for nothing.”

In two minutes we were at Jack’s house. He sat at the kitchen table, his face ashen. Larry’s three friends were drinking whiskey. Jack was drinking tea. I pulled a chair alongside him. “Jack are you alright?”

“Yes, I will be, got a weak heart, too much excitement for an old man.”

“You’re not that old!”

“I feel it!”

“Where’s Janie?” I asked, trying not to stress him any further.

“I’m here!”

She stood in the doorway, the passage light framing her slight figure. She held a bundle wrapped in a blanket. At first I thought she was carrying a child, my heart missed a beat. Jack made to get up, but I put my hand on his should and made him sit.

“Where’d you go?” he asked.

“Back to the barn, I wanted to grab this stuff before anyone else found it. Those guys came searching for me down here once. They might come back!”

She dropped the bundle on the floor, but held onto a small tin, the sort you got cookies in at Christmas. She placed it on the table in front of Jack. He looked up at her.

“Open it!”

Gunfire and Hookers

We heard three shots, bang-bang bang, one after another! It was terrifying. The closest I’d ever been to live gunfire was watching my neighbors at their back yard shooting range. This was America, everyone had a gun, but I’d never been in the line of fire. Our driver reversed speedily back to where Larry and Jack were. “Get Down!” he yelled. We didn’t need to be told twice. Janie and I dropped to the floor. The back door of the van opened, and even before it closed again, our tires screeched and we sped down the road. More gunfire. The back window of the van exploded! Janie screamed. A sharp right turn threw us across the floor. Finally, after a few more turns, we stopped.

“I don’t want anyone to move. Stay down!”12648704893_0f2dcc7aab

The tattooed passenger (I wish I knew his name) got out and disappeared into the darkness. Although I’d been told to stay down, I raised my head slightly and peeped over the back seat. Larry was sprawled on the floor cradling Jack in front of him. He saw the look of alarm on my face and put his finger to his lips. Jack turned his head and looked at me.

Thank God, he’s alive.

He’ll be OK, stay down pet, this isn’t over yet. I think my gran was with me. Car headlights appeared behind us. Filled with adrenalin, I was ready to run. The car pulled along side us. “It’s OK,” Larry whispered, “It’s our boys.”

I moved towards the door, wanting to put all of this behind me. “No, not you, this is for the old man and the other girl,” he said, “We need to split up.”

Janie clung to me “It’s OK go!” I said and pushed her gently towards the door wishing desperately I was going with her.

“What about me?”

“We’re going to get a cab!”

“Dressed like this?” I asked.

“Yes!” We need to be seen.

Larry helped me out of the van and caught me when my legs gave way beneath me.

“Come on, you can do this.”

We walked along the back streets just south of Colfax. It was a cold night and the streets were deserted. I wasn’t familiar with the area and completely lost. Cold and afraid I clung to Larry’s arm.

“What if they come after us?”

“Don’t think about it. Pretend it never happened.”

I looked at him with tears streaming down my face, “And what about Janie, do you think they’ll just let her go?”

“OK dry your eyes we’re almost there. It would help if you acted like a hooker!”

I looked down at my short skirt and ridiculous shoes. I certainly looked the part.

We reached a major intersection. It was Colorado Boulevard and Colfax. A line of taxis parked by the curb outside a club.

Thank God!

Several police cars and an ambulance raced past us, sirens blaring. They turned left onto Colfax. I knew where they were headed.

Larry helped me into a cab.

“Where to?” The driver asked.

“Can you recommend a cheap hotel near here?” Larry asked, “I’m from out-of-town.”

I saw the expression on the drivers face as he looked at me in the mirror.

Dear Lord, I hope I never see him again. 

I glared at Larry. He was enjoying this way too much!

“I know just the place.”

 

Just an old fashioned brothel!

BrotherlThe creep who’s propositioned me made himself comfortable on a chair next to Janie. Without taking his eyes off me he draped his arm around her and pulled her close. Tears streamed down her face. Push him off Janie, push him away. I knew she couldn’t. He kissed her on her neck, then her lips. He stood her up and pinning her against the wall with his body, he slid down and nuzzled his head between her breasts. She was terrified. I looked at Jack’s face, worried about his reaction. Larry spoke!

“Hey man, leave her alone, I can’t concentrate on the cards while you’re doing that.”

Tom turned around and faced him. “Can’t have that can we!”

He took hold of Janie’s arm and dragged her across the floor. She fell to her knees but he didn’t stop, he continued to walk, dragging her behind him. She managed to get to her feet again when they reached the door, her knees were scraped and her blouse torn.

“You want to come too darling? I can handle two of you.”

Go Sheila go, it’ll be OK! He’s strong, but drunk. Go help her. The voices in my head belonged to someone I’d come to know. It was Jacks daughter. Go, we’re here with you. This time it was my gran.

“Sure, let’s have a party.”

The look on Janie’s face was horrific. “No, leave her alone, leave her out of this.”

“Shhh, honey, you can’t keep a mal like this all to yourself” I said, trying to take on the role.

I didn’t look behind me, daren’t see the look on Jack’s face.

The bedroom that Tom led us into wasn’t at all what I was expecting. It was clean and sumptuous, reminded me of a saloon brothel from some Western, where the madame would be called Kitty and her girls would wear frilly bloomers and basques. He saw the look on my face. “Like what you see, you’re gonna like what you get too.” He unbuckled his belt and started to unzip his jeans. “Lets play around a little first shall we?”He walked toward me, his belt hanging loose, the top button of his jeans undone and his zipper halfway down. Janie stepped in front of me, trembling, but trying to protect me. She moved towards Tom and draped her arms around his neck. He put his hands on her shoulders, dropped his head and kissed her breasts, then he pushed her to one side and laughed.

“I’ve had you before, its her I want. She’s new, fresh and I don’t think she’s done this before.”

Oh dear god please help me. 

I looked across at the speckled mirror in the old-fashioned dresser and saw four faces looking back at me. My own terrified face was in the forefront, but the faded, determined faces of my gran, and the two souls she’d befriended hovered behind, like fading holograms.

Everything moved very fast. Janie lurched forward and grabbed Tom’s jeans, she yanked them down to his knees and pushed as hard as she could. His legs tangled in his jeans and he went down hard, banging his head on the corner of the dresser as he fell. It knocked him out cold.

Run, run, run, run, run, run, ruuuuuuunnnnnnn! Get away, flee!

The faces in the mirror had disappeared, but the room echoed with their words. I grabbed Janie’s hand and we ran for the door. It opened as we approached and on of Larry’s boys appeared. He looked behind us and saw Tom on the floor, a pool of blood spreading around him.

“This way!”

We fled down the hallway and out of the back door. The old van stood outside, its engine running. We fell inside and the van took off, even before the door was closed.

“You girls OK?”

Janie and I didn’t speak, we just hugged each other!

“What about Jack,” Janie said, “What if they hurt him?”

I put my arm around her, feeling her wet tears on my shoulder. “He’s in good company, I think he’ll be OK!” I replied and hoped I was right.

 

The Hand!

A hand touched my shoulder startling me so badly I almost fell off my chair. “Hey sugar, I didn’t mean to scare you.” the hand didn’t move though, it remained on my shoulder, inching its way down to places I didn’t want it to go.
Relax Sheila, you can do this, come on its going to take more than an attempted  grope to scare you.

hand-tattoo-for-men

I slid off my chair, causing the hand to slide away. Turning around I came face to face with the bully we’d seen in the Stage Coach. His hand rested on the bar, it was tattooed to look like a skull. His face was a mixture of confidence and lust. I could tell them man was used to getting his own way.

“Are you here for an interview?” he asked, “if you are, let’s go out back, I like what I see, but a little time alone with you would help me make up my mind.”

I could feel Jack’s eyes on me. Stay Cool Jack, don’t blow it!

Smiling I said, “thanks for the offer man, it’s tempting, but I’m with someone.”

Larry left the table and came to my aid. He pulled me close and whispered in my ear erotically. “Keeping you safe, play along.”

I turned around to face him and kissed him full on the lips. He tasted of whiskey and tobacco. It was like kissing my dad.

“Come on, forget the hooker and let’s get on with the game.”

Larry laughed, “leave her alone man, she’s mine for the night, I want my money’s worth. Even bought me some little blue pills to make the night last longer.”

He returned to the table.

I tried not to show my disgust, the thought of being bought by Larry or anyone else made me feel sick.

“My name’s Tom, the tattooed bully said huskily.” He put his arm around me, resting his meaty hand on my lower back, pulling me towards him. I tried to resist, but he was too strong. “When you’re done with this old man some see me. I could use a girl like you.” I guessed he was two hundred and fifty pounds of pure muscle, not someone to upset.

“I’ll remember that big guy.” I said as I looked into his eyes.

He held me for a long time, too long, but I daren’t pull away. Finally he but his mouth to my ear and said, “You have a little more class than my usual girls, I could even keep you for myself.” He inhaled, “Mmm you smell good too!”

With that he went over to the far door and said something to the guy who guarded it. They both looked at me.

Shit!

Janie (Rosie) sat on her stool. Although her head hung down so far I couldn’t see her face, I knew she was crying, I saw the tear drops falling onto her lap.

Petal handed me a drink. “Cheers honey, it looks like you’ll be one of us soon!”

I took the drink and downed it in one gulp.

No fucking way! I’d rather die. Gran, I hope you’re out there. I’m going to need you!