RMFAO Buddy Read: Strange Weather by Joe Hill

First off, I’d like to share a good news that we’ve crossed first 500 members at RMFAO! For those of you who don’t know what RMFAO is, it is a book club/group on Goodreads where book lovers from all over the world share their latest reads and reviews and participate in exciting year-long challenges and buddy reads.

Coming back to the topic, for the month of October this year, we’re hosting a buddy read for Strange Weather by Joe Hill at RMFAO. The buddy read would be lead by Cheryl, one of the moderators at RMFAO.

I’ve been waiting to read this book since its release last year! I got the hardback copy of it as a birthday gift from Vishal in December itself, but then we planned to have a buddy read for this book in October, so I saved it for later and finally, after a long and arduous wait, October is here and I’m super thrilled to read this book! The best part is that this book fits in the Horror genre so it makes it easy for all of us who are participating in RMFAO 2017 Genre Challenge (October – Horror) challenge to count it in.

If you want to read this book or like horror fiction or want to explore it then come along and join us. This is a month-long buddy read so you can join in anytime as long as you finish the book by the end of the month.

You can find the main discussion thread for Stange Weather buddy read here.

If you want to know more about RMFAO then you can check out this page: RMFAO

Ciao ❤

Her

It was a cold, cold day and Emelia was stuck inside her SUV in a snowstorm. It was freezing outside as well as inside. She had been sitting in the car from last 48 hours.

She turned off the heater a while back because she knew the battery of her car won’t last if she’ll keep the heater running for long. According to the reports she heard before getting stuck in this hell, the storm would last for several of days. So far, it had been only 2 days.

The last two days had been the worst days of Emelia’s life, or so she thought. In the initial hours, Emelia refused to believe that she was stuck in the car in the middle of nowhere in a fucking snowstorm. But after a couple of hours when the wind continued howling like a hungry dog and the snow kept falling like there won’t be an end, she realised that she was stuck. Stuck here for good. Soon after this realisation followed panic.

For the next few hours, she cried for help; screaming her lungs out and almost rupturing her vocal cords. She tried to break the glass of her windows, but her fingers were already starting to get numb. Moreover, the glass of her SUV’s windows was not easy to break. This exhausted and frustrated her to no measure. She kept at it but in vain.

Hours later, exhausted, she closed her eyes giving up and that’s when she saw Will smiling at her. The smile she fell in love with, the smile that takes all her worry away, the smile she wanted to go back to. And then it dawned on her that the only thing that will keep her going was hope.

Yes, she can survive this and yes she will make it back. A lot of people do, and that too in much worse situations. So she forced herself to believe that she can too. In spite of the swelling in both her feet and the lower half of her back, in spite of the numbness spreading throughout her arms, she told herself, that it will be over soon.

She tried to focus on the conversation she had with Will just before she left her home – “I need a break, Will. Just a week off from being a wife. I’m tired and you know it. All I’m asking is for you to let me be alone for a few days.”

After a few hours of argument, she was able to convince Will, like she always does, to let her go alone to the Rhode Island. She made him promise to not call her, and knowing that he will, she left her phone at home in the drawer of her study table. How she missed her phone right now. If only she had her phone with her, everything would be fine. Will would come running to rescue her and this nightmare would be over, forever.

But now, that was not possible. Unless someone was stupid enough to leave their home in such a storm and come driving down this stupid forest, that Emelia wanted to explore before driving to The Resort in Rhode Island, no one would know where she was.

She’d been crying a few hours ago, but now crying felt too laborious in such a cold weather. What really scared her though was not the cold that was shutting down her nervous system, or the storm that covered her car with thick snow, or the fact that it was a forest and some big carnivore animal might be lurking around her car. No, she was a strong woman when it came to these things. But what did bother her was the gloom of the sunless sky and the scary sounds the wind was making every time it went swishing around her glass windows. And also, the feeling, deep in the pit of her stomach, that something was terribly wrong, other than this unfortunate situation in which she had landed up, something was not right.

At one point, she thought she heard something, a sort of wailing. But as brave as she was, she still felt fear grip her insides. The glass of her windows was completely covered in fog and snow and it was difficult to see what was outside. She was just able to tell that it was soon turning into night.

The wind was whipping wildly outside, and there it was again. She heard that wailing cacophony again. She sat straighter, and in order to ignore the blood-curdling sound, she started to hum a lullaby that her mother used to sing when she was a child. She tried to literally force herself to sleep, but the cold made it impossible. But the lullaby which she always found comforting, sounded like a death song which was both disturbing and frightening.

All of a sudden there was a loud thud just outside her door. She felt it as much as she heard it as if something heavy hit the door. She tried to peek outside through the frosted glass, but nothing was visible against the grey backdrop of the gloomy dusk. She thought it was some wild animal. Slowly she rose from her seat, and without making any noise shifted to the seat on the passenger side. She was sure that the darkness would conceal her movement.

She tried to calm down her thudding heart telling it that it was nothing but an animal and there was nothing to fear. But when she heard the sobbing of a woman just loud enough to make the hair on her neck rise, she knew, it was no animal. And just then the sobbing turned into a high pitched laughter, so crass and intense that it made Emelia’s teeth chatter.

She looked intently at the glass window on the driving side and thought that she saw a hint of a shadow – a shadow woman with a scarf draped over her head. But only for a second before the outline turned into black smoke and transformed into a shapeless mass.

Frozen, she knew that it was no woman; it was someone else. Someone who is not a living person because no living person will sit and sob and then laugh in the middle of a snowstorm, outside a car that is stuck in the lonely forest in the middle of the night… It was Her, whom no one was supposed to see…


Genre: Supernatural

Note: All views and opinions shared in this post are my own.

Please feel free to give your feedback in the comments section below.

You can read my other stories here.


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Clicked – #Blogbattle

BlogBattle is a weekly short story challenge in which participants write short stories using a single word for inspiration. You can visit Blogbattle’s blog to find out more about it at Blogbattle: Inspired To Write.

This week’s word is Photograph.

NOTE: This is a piece of fiction any resemblance to any person or place (living or dead) is purely coincidental.

CLICKED

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Image Source: Pixabay

Genre: Horror

I place my digital camera – Sony Cybershot – lightly on the rough wooden surface of the coffee table next to me and crouch down to pick up the books from the lower most levels of the bookshelf. I see Needful Things, Grownup, Catch 22, Catch Your Death, Pet Sematary, Cell, Clifton Chronicles series and several other books sitting nicely stacked against each other.

There’re so many books that it’s past time we got a new bigger bookshelf. Ugggh… How many times will I have to argue with Dom  to get the damn thing? Looks like I’ll have to do it myself.

I shake my head in frustration, huffing a frustrated sigh, and pick up half of the books stacked against each other in the second last level, and gently keep them on the floor beside dozens of other books that rested harmoniously on the cream colored marble floor in lazy heaps.

After putting the remaining half of the books, from the same level, on the floor beside others, I grab my camera and take a few pictures of the books that I just kept on the floor. This is my way of keeping a tab on the books I have. Easy and hassle free.

I press the ‘preview’ button and check the pictures I just took, and that’s when I hear a loud thud from the other room.

What the hell?

I keep the camera as it is with preview window open back on the coffee table facing away from me and go to the bedroom to check.

As soon as I enter the room I feel a cold current of electricity run through my body in a matter of a split second. At it felt like electric current to me. The hair on my arms and legs rise and I stand at my place dumbfounded. I shake my head to get back my bearings and discarding it for a shuddering I enter the room.

The first thing that I notice is that the bedroom, somehow, seems unnaturally placid. I mean there’s obviously no one here, still it feels quaint to be here right now. Trying to ignore a strange feeling rising in the pit of my stomach I look around the room to find everything in order. There’s nothing misplaced or fallen on the ground.

Honestly, I was expecting to see the pile of folded clothes on the floor as I knew the window next to it was open, but when I check, the pile is sitting neatly where I left it in the morning next to the window.

Where did the sound come from? 

Maybe the noise came from the kitchen or outside and I mistook it for the bedroom. In spite of my gut telling me that the noise came from the bedroom, I drop the matter thinking it might have been Tom, the street cat, or some squirrel running around outside the window or maybe a bird or something else.

I return to the study room and make my way to the bookshelf on the right-hand side wall. But as soon as I lower my head to see the floor, I find everything scattered on the floor.

What the fuck?

All the piles of my books are lying on the floor as if someone kicked them. More than a few pages of my once neatly bind books are lying around scattered about the disheveled books. After a few seconds of shock, I notice that most of the books are not only just scattered around the floor, but are torn apart.

My heart starts beating fast thinking about who could have done so. My anger flares up in an instant and I start cursing, Tom, who visits me every now and then. I’m sure now that it is his doing.

It has to be!

I sit down on the floor, picking up the torn books carefully, one by one, trying my best to control the tears welling up in my eyes and that’s when I hear it.

Click.

My head snaps up to look at the camera, sitting on the coffee table just where I left it, but instead of facing away from me it is facing at me. My heart starts beating fast but I try to tell myself that I might have kept it like this in the hurry to go to the bedroom, or maybe Tom did it… but I know it’s not possible. I remember clearly how I kept the camera when I left

Click. Click. Click.

I freeze at my place and before I could even blink, a cold shiver runs through my body again. Just like before.

I muster all the courage I could and get up from the floor, not taking my eyes off the camera. Its lens looks like it’s staring right back at me, daring me to see what it has captured.

My heart thumping loudly in my ears I take calculated steps towards the wooden coffee table and my camera. Sweat starts dripping down from the sides of my head and the hair on my neck start to rise as I get closer to the camera.

I stop, just long enough to quickly glance around the room, as if to make sure there’s no one around. I feel completely jittered and my throat starts to feel dry.

I start to rethink the entire situation. Maybe it was my imagination playing tricks on me? Maybe it wasn’t a click that I heard, but some other noise from outside? Maybe Tom is still inside the house trying to find food in the kitchen and making all these noises there?

Or maybe I’m just freaking out?

Click. Click. Click.

I immediately look at the camera and notice that it has shifted a little from it was a minute ago.It is a little sideways now. But how in the hell is it even possible?

I hate to face it, but I guess there’s something around.

I try to back away from the camera carefully, one step behind the other. But just as I reach the place where I was sitting, the clicking starts again.

Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click.

I turn around and dash for the door. As soon as I’m out the room I shut the door behind me. I try to catch my breath but the frantic clicking noise makes me feel dizzy. It’s getting more and more urgent now…

Please, someone, stop it!

Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click…

I cover my ears with my hands and run towards the bedroom. Entering the room I close the door behind me and bolt it shut. I wipe the tears and sweat off my face and feeling increasingly hysterical I pat my pockets searching for my cell phone. But then I realize that I left it next to the shelf on the floor in the study room.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

I sit on the bed and try to steady my ragged breathing. I wait for a few heartbeats to let the feeling of nausea pass and then start thinking about a way to go outside and get my phone back. Dismissing the idea, I look around the room frantically in hopes to find something. Anything.

And that’s when my eyes land on the pile of folded clothes neatly sitting by the window and there, under the bright light of the sun, my eyes land on the camera sitting on top of Dom’s light blue shirt, facing towards me.

And right then, I hear the sound that’ll haunt me for each and every waking second of the rest of my life.

Click.


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Trying To Get Home

This short story/flash fiction is written for the photo prompt at Describli.

Trying To Get Home

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Genre: Horror, mystery, paranormal.

 

It’s getting awfully dark for 5:30 pm. Isn’t the sun supposed to set by 6:30 at least?
Seems only fitting that today it had to set early. How can I have a fucking normal day on the saddest day of the year? Happy birthday, Jackie.

Everything that could go wrong today did. Well, it’s not a surprise if you’d believe my mother. Apparently I was born on “Friday the 13th” on a no-moon day – Amavasya. And today morning she called me just to remind me that today, after 26 years, it is the same fucking Friday the 13th, Amavasya. So, you see, how she almost ruined my morning by wishing me happy birthday.

Sighing heavily I shift my heavy sling bag from left shoulder to the right one. The weight of my bag is literally killing me. Darn you, Henry.

We were supposed to meet at 4:00 outside my office, but then after waiting for him for 15 minutes like a loon standing on the road alone, he texts me saying “I have an urgent meeting, I’ll book you a cab.”

That was almost two hours ago. I tried to wait for the cab, but I really couldn’t afford to wait any longer as Coco gets anxious if I’m not home by 6:00. Yea, I know, she’s spoilt but I really can’t afford not to pamper her as she’s the only living being who actually loves me despite what inauspicious day I was born on. How ironic, the only person who loves a self-help author is her tom cat… Well, what can I say, we gotta do what we gotta do for earning.

I again shift my bag from my right shoulder to the left one and, turning off the music blaring from my headphones, I walk towards the side of the road. There’s this small rock that looks inviting and as I’m staring at it debating whether to take a break or not, exhaustion takes over me like a sudden wave forming in the sea. I move towards it, almost as if it’s pulling me towards it, and dropping my bag beside the rock on the ground, covered with brown and orange leaves, I sit on the rock leaning on the trunk of the tree standing behind it at an awkward angle.

I instantly close my eyes loosing myself to the sweet slumber that swallows me, paying no heed to the clumsy shape of the tree or that there are some engravings upon its trunk just where my head touches it the fact that it’s getting dark like it’s late midnight. Darkness engulfs me making me lose myself entirely.

Loud voices wake me up.

I stir a little but then I hear a weird hollow crying.

I get up with a start and start looking around me frantically, feeling disoriented from the sleep. I take in the darkness that’s lingering around me like a thick black fog. It takes my eyes a few minutes to get adjusted to the darkness around me that is literally swallowing me. And as my vision adjusts, I start to see the gray shadows around me, clearer by every second.

The crying noise is a constant hum in the background, albeit a loud one. And as the reality of my situation dawns on me, the heaviness settles on me more and more as the seconds pass.

For a minute, I don’t even move a muscle thinking that it’s all just a bad dream. But as I sit there waiting for the dream to get over, I realize that it’s not a dream that’ll get over as soon as I’ll wake up, that will fade away as I’ll be going to the kitchen first thing in the morning to make a cup of coffee. Or the one that I’ll remember and brood upon while combing Coco’s black knotty fur.

I take in a deep breath and try to release it as silently as I can, but whom am I kidding, they already know I’m sitting here. My presence only making them more excited. More hungry.

I wish I would have paid more attention to the stories people told about this forest. How I wish I would have been superstitious enough to not have dared to step into this forest in order to take a short-cut for home. How I wish I would have listened to Christina, who tried to stop me like a maniac when I told her I’ll walk through the woods to reach home early.

I wish I wouldn’t have come to the in the first place office today. How I wish I would have been able to see Coco for the last time before I entered this forest or, better yet, I would have died this morning itself.

Well, at least now I know that the folklores about this forest are not just stories that mothers tell their children to scare them, but are true to every little detail.

Now I know that the dead really do dance here at night under the gray light of the moonless sky and that they, indeed, feed on the hearts of the living carved out from their chest while they are still alive…


Please feel free to give your feedback in the comments section below.


Note: All views and opinions shared in this post are my own.

You can read my other stories here.


Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.